Recreational Marijuana Available in New Jersey: The Implications for Insurance Carriers and Employers

Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby LLP

Pursuant to a release issued by the New Jersey State’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission, as of April 21, 2022, the sale of recreational marijuana has begun. The state gave authorization to 13 retail dispensaries to conduct business. Previously Governor Phil Murphy decriminalized marijuana use for anyone 21 years or older. Now, the sale of recreational marijuana for anyone 21 or older can take place throughout New Jersey.

With the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana, employers need to be aware of the protections provided to employees under the statute and may need to update their drug policies and employee handbooks to cover this issue, if they have not already done so. Under the Act employers cannot take adverse action against an employee or prospective employee simply because they use marijuana recreationally outside of work. However, as with alcohol, employers do not have to tolerate an employee’s use or carrying of the drug on the job. If an employer has not consulted with an attorney regarding this issue they should do so. Marijuana still remains a Schedule 1 drug under Federal law and under Federal law is still illegal to use or possess.

When it comes to workers’ compensation claims, use of marijuana or identification of marijuana use in connection with employment should be evaluated in connection with the intoxication defense provided by Statute.

For more information or questions, please reach out to our attorneys.

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.

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