Decriminalization of Marijuana

News & Analysis as of

Employers and medical marijuana: Are California's anti-drug policies up in smoke?

What’s an employer to do when faced with employees using marijuana in or out of the workplace? How should employers respond to employees who use or possess marijuana legally under California law? How does such use or...more

Conflicting State and Federal Laws May Result in Crippling Blows to Business in the Marijuana Industry

As of October 2015, four states have legalized marijuana for recreational use: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. The recreational marijuana movement—although slow in terms of states following by legalizing use—has had...more


Below are news items from the past week involving local government, religion, and land use that have caught our attention. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York has issued a Memorandum and...more

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. Double Whammy in Maine’s Paper Industry - This past week, two northern Maine paper mills...more

Medical Marijuana in the Workplace

With the recent expansion of legislation permitting the production, sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes, employers should begin to think about crafting a policy which addresses medical marijuana use in their...more

Medical Marijuana and Commercial Real Estate in California and Beyond

BB&K attorney Seena Samimi discussed in a Lawline presentation how conflicting medical marijuana laws impact commercial real estate owners, and what they should know in leasing to dispensaries. Real estate impacts...more

Is the Tide Turning on the Marijuana Legalization Conversation?

The California Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy just changed the conversation on marijuana legalization. In the past, the discussion centered on decriminalization but not regulation. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, however,...more

Miners & Marijuana

As in other industries, mining companies must contend with employees and contractors using or being under the influence of illegal drugs in the workplace. Marijuana is one of the most prominent substances detected in drug...more


Religion Clause Blog reports that Indiana’s First Church of Cannabis is using the state’s recently enacted religious freedom law to protect its founder and two members from prosecution for possession of marijuana. The Church...more

The People Have Spoken, and It’s Time to Start Smokin’. . . Or Just Say No

It’s July 1, 2015, and Oregon law now allows adults to lawfully use marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. Many employers have already faced questions from employees about the impact of the state’s new...more

Colorado Supreme Court Upholds Employers’ Right To Fire Employees That Test Positive For Medical Marijuana

In a case which has been monitored by employers nationwide, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld an employer’s decision to terminate an employee for testing positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in a random drug test....more

Colorado Supreme Court Affirms Right to Discharge Medical Marijuana User Who Tested Positive in Violation of Zero Tolerance Policy

Today, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in Coats v. Dish Network, No. 13SC394 (June 15, 2015). The court held that Colorado’s lawful off-duty conduct statute does not prohibit employers from...more

New Report Calls for Marijuana Legalization in California

Could loosening the criminal sanctions on the possession, cultivation and sale of marijuana in California save a significant amount of money for the state, cities and taxpayers while boosting tax revenue?...more

Arizona Attorney General Opinion Embraces Taxpayer-Funded (Political) Advocacy: Potential Pitfalls for Businesses and Nonprofits

The Office of the Arizona Attorney General recently sparked debate by issuing an opinion advising two county attorneys that they may use public resources to disseminate messages about the dangers of marijuana use ahead of the...more

How New Marijuana Laws Will Impact the Hospitality Industry

On Feb. 10, 2015, Bill Berger and Matt Arentsen led a roundtable discussion at the Hospitality Law Conference in Houston, Texas. Speakers and attendees at the conference represented a broad spectrum of hospitality industry...more

HUD Multifamily provides guidance on marijuana use in assisted housing

On December 29, 2014, Benjamin Metcalf, HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Assisted Properties, issued a memo to HUD Multifamily directors and contract administrators clarifying the impact of medical marijuana use...more

Alaska Voters Approve Measure Legalizing Marijuana for Adult Recreational Use

On November 4, 2014, Alaska voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults aged 21 and over. With passage of the measure, Alaska joined Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and the...more

Zero Tolerance for Marijuana Use by Employees: A Prescription for Litigation?

The dramatic inconsistency between federal and state law with regard to the use of marijuana may mean that employers with zero tolerance policies for marijuana use will face an increasing likelihood of litigation over the...more

The Approval of Recreational Marijuana Use May Change Workplace Drug Policies

Efforts to legalize marijuana secured major victories last Election Day when voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. approved laws allowing for the recreational use of a plant previously touted as the "evil weed" by the...more

Oregon Initiative Legalizes Recreational Use of Marijuana—What Does that Mean for Employers?

On Nov. 4, 2014, Oregon voted to decriminalize, regulate, and tax the production, delivery, and possession of marijuana. Oregon joins Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Washington, D.C. in legalizing recreational marijuana...more

What Does Alaska’s and Oregon’s Legalization of Marijuana Change for Employers? Answer: Probably Not Much

In this week’s mid-term election on November 4, Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia became the latest jurisdictions to pass referendums decriminalizing the recreational possession and use of small amounts of...more

D.C. Voters Approve Recreational Marijuana Ballot Initiative

On November 4, 2014, voters approved a law legalizing recreational marijuana use in the District of Columbia. D.C. joins Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington in approving marijuana for recreational use....more

Don't Fear The Reefer, Oregon Employers: Legalization of Recreational Marijuana Will Not Impact Company Policies

On November 4, 2014, Oregon joined Colorado and Washington when voters approved a state initiative legalizing the recreational use of marijuana (Alaska passed a similar law the same day). As of July 1, 2015, it will no longer...more

Alaska Passes Initiative to Legalize Recreational Use of Marijuana—What Does that Mean for Employers?

Alaska voted on Nov. 4, 2014, to decriminalize possession, use, display, purchase, and transport of marijuana. Alaska has now joined Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. in legalizing recreational marijuana use....more

A Moment of Simple Justice: Legal Weed  [Video]

August 11, 2014 (Mimesis Law) -- The New York Times calls for the full legalization of marijuana and Scott looks back on what the criminalization of the substance has done to American society....more

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