Local employers learn about the impact of marijuana legalization


Local employers were learning about how marijuana legalization can impact them. 

The Greater Binghamton Chamber’s latest Eggs and Issues breakfast featured a panel of experts on the topic.

Many employers stressed the liability concerns resulting from the legalization of marijuana. 

Based on the current language in Governor Cuomo’s budget, the burden will be on the employer to prove that their employees are under the influence of marijuana. 

Chamber President Jennifer Conway says this was a way of preparing everyone for the inevitable. “What we really know is that it’s not if but when and how. The Governor has really made that clear and really with the current state it’s happening. In preparation, we need employers to really understand their rights and their employee’s rights through this process. You don’t want to have to craft your policies and procedures overnight.”

Hineman Howard and Kattel Partner Dawn Lanouette stressed that nothing right now is final. She says it’s important to stay updated on what the law is going to be. “There are actually several versions of marijuana legislation out there in New York. And they have pretty significant differences for employers and businesses in terms of what they would be able to do for employees. What kind of testing they could do and whether or not they could terminate employees that are impaired at work.”

Another concern raised was due to how long THC stays in someone’s system, current blood testing can’t confirm the time frame of when someone used the substance. 

Lanouette says since researching the effects of marijuana was illegal until 2014, there is still a lot of work to be done to find more efficient ways of testing. 

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