Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act – How Do We Protect Employers and Our Children

by Rowley Chapman & Barney, Ltd.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (MMA) on its face prohibits employers from discriminating against registered medical marijuana users and card holders in making employment decisions. It prohibits employers from taking action in most cases against medical marijuana users. Because of the broad language in Arizona’s MMA, the Arizona Legislature on behalf of employers recently passed a new law that was signed by Governor Brewer, for employers who have employees who hide behind the MMA. The new law provides employers with several protections against claims of wrongful termination and discrimination when taking action against those employees using marijuana or other prohibited substances.

An employee using medical marijuana can become a card holder by obtaining a certificate under the direction of a physician and then that employee’s use of marijuana would not constitute use of an illicit substance because the employee would be using it as qualifying medical treatment.

First of all, what is impairment? Impairment is broadly defined as any indication that drugs or alcohol may decrease or lessen the employee’s performance of the duties or tasks of the employee’s job description. Factors such as the employee’s speech, appearance, clothing, odor, and behavior may be considered in concluding an employee is impaired. Under the new law an employer may discipline an employee or take other actions if the employer has a reasonable, good faith belief that the employee used or possessed drugs or was impaired in the work place.

In a very poorly worded and hastily enacted law, Arizona became the 15th state in the nation to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. However, the voters did not think through the consequences of passing the medical marijuana act.

As a consequence, employers have been forced to redefine and protect themselves against employees who may be using marijuana in the work place.

To make matters worse, now in family court, the discrimination provision of A.R.S. 36-2813 currently states that no person may be denied custody of or visitation or parenting time with a minor, and there is no presumption of neglect or child endangerment for conduct allowed under this chapter. So imagine a parent who is under the influence of marijuana but has obtained, however questionable, a card allowing their use of medical marijuana to parent a child and have parenting or visitation time. This will only create further family court disputes and litigation, in addition to employment disputes when one parent, questions the fact that the ex-spouse is using marijuana and is under the influence during their weekend visitation time.

Wouldn’t it have been better to recognize what we all know, that alcohol and/or marijuana use is not conducive to proper parenting and is not a positive influence at the office? That would have been much simpler. Now, one law has to be enacted to protect us from another law, and then one statute has to be re-written to draft around the unintended consequences of passing a very sloppy and ill worded proposition just so a few people in Arizona could justify and rationalize using marijuana.

If you have questions or concerns about any family law issues facing your family, please call me at (480) 833-1113.

Attorney Profile: Paul S. Rowley, Managing Partner


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Rowley Chapman & Barney, Ltd. | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Rowley Chapman & Barney, Ltd.

Rowley Chapman & Barney, Ltd. on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new!