Amendment 3 was passed by Missouri voters on November 8, 2022, and will become effective on December 8, 2022. The proposal amends the part of the Missouri Constitution that legalized medical marijuana and adds new provisions legalizing recreational use of marijuana in certain circumstances. These changes potentially affect employers and landlords in at least the following ways:
New anti-discrimination provision for medical marijuana use away from work
The new law explicitly prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee or potential employee because the person has a medical marijuana card, is the caregiver of a medical marijuana user, or legally uses medical marijuana away from work. The new law also prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee or potential employee who tests positive for marijuana if the person has a medical marijuana card and legally used marijuana away from work.
Neither of these prohibitions apply if the employee used or was under the influence of marijuana at the workplace or during work hours, or if the use of medical marijuana (even away from work) affects the person’s ability to perform the job or conflicts with a bona fide job qualification.
New lease provision for landlords
The owner or lessee of any private property can prohibit the use, consumption, cultivation, distribution, processing, or sale of marijuana on its premises. However, any lease agreements that are executed after December 8, 2022 “may not prohibit a tenant from lawfully possessing and consuming marijuana by means other than smoking.”
What do these provisions mean for Missouri employers and landlords?
Employers who have a drug test procedure that screens for marijuana use should make sure to have an adequate procedure in place to address employees who tested positive because of medical marijuana use away from the workplace. Employers will also need to ensure that these procedures comply with other applicable laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Employers should make sure that their Human Resources staff or others making hiring and disciplinary decisions are aware of and follow these anti-discrimination provisions.
Employers who have employees who may fit within the exception for employees whose marijuana use away from work would interfere with their ability or qualifications to perform their jobs will need to make sure that their employees are actually within these exceptions and that their policies adequately address this issue.
Landlords should review all lease agreements entered after December 8, 2022 to make sure that they are imposing the restrictions they desire without prohibiting lawful possession and consumption by means other than smoking.
What hasn’t changed?
Even after Amendment 3 takes effect, employers are not required to allow marijuana use on their premises or to allow workers to work or be present at the workplace while under the influence of marijuana. Employers can continue to discipline or terminate workers who do not comply with such policies and can continue to test workers for actual impairment during work hours.
The law also does not contain any anti-discrimination protections for users of recreational (non-medical) marijuana.
What should you do if you have questions about the new law?
Amendment 3’s provisions are very detailed and fact specific, and will interact with other existing employment laws. Therefore, employers or landlords who have questions about the new law and how it might affect them should seek legal advice to determine the best course of action in their individual circumstances.
The above information is a summary only and is not intended to convey complete information about the law’s provisions. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be considered as a substitute for actual advice from an attorney that considers the reader’s specific circumstances.