More than 50 Colorado companies filled the room on January 31st to listen to two of Denver’s top law firms deliver legal guidance for employers concerned about interpreting Amendment 64; a recent law which legalizes the recreational use of marijuana for individuals 21 years of age or older within the state of Colorado. The seminar was led by attorney Kate Raabe of Stettner Miller, P.C., and attorney Chris Leh of Littler Mendelson, P.C., and co-hosted by the Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain with the Associated Builders and Contractors Rocky Mountain Chapter (ABC), at IECRM in Denver, Colorado.
Raabe and Leh explained that Amendment 64 explicitly states that Colorado employers are not required to allow or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growth, of marijuana in the workplace. Additionally, employers retain the ability to have workplace policies restricting the use of the drug.
However, in light of the amendment, Raabe and Leh recommend that Colorado employers follow this Ten-Step Amendment 64 Action Plan:
- Clarify policies in the workplace (e.g. revise your employee handbook policy to prohibit “federally illegal” drugs, not just “illegal” drugs)
- Focus workers on safety
- Follow DOT rules (if applicable)
- Enforce your company’s drug testing rules
- Remember EAPs (Employee Assistance Programs)
- Train and prepare your managers
- Protect PHI (Protected Health Information)
- Beware of duties due to TMI (‘too much information’) between employees and managers
- Don’t fear litigation
- Stay tuned for new developments
“It’s important for businesses to get their company policies ahead of this new state law. Yes, the people of Colorado “have spoken,” but that does not mean the use of a Schedule 1 drug is federally legal, and it does not forbid prosecution. Federal law always trumps state law,” said Kristin Kim Haynes, IECRM Director of Operations.
The public is invited to sign up for future free seminars at the Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain in Denver - visit www.iecrm.org or call (303) 853-4886.