Marijuana Legalization: Employer Issues, Challenges & Opportunities

When:  Feb 12, 2019 from 8:30 AM to 11:45 AM (CT)
Drinker Biddle and Reath
191 N. Wacker Drive, FL 37
Chicago, IL 60606
Dial-in Instructions:
An email from MBGH & Readytalk will be sent to those that register a day before the webinar.

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As of November 2018, a total of 33 states have legalized medical marijuana, with 10 of those states legalizing recreational marijuana. Under Federal law, marijuana is still illegal. Rapid and significant changes to the legal status of marijuana is raising new questions, challenges and potential opportunities for employers.


Although there has been a lack of research about the value of marijuana in the past, there is growing evidence of its benefits for people with chronic pain, nausea and vomiting associated with cancer treatment, Multiple Sclerosis, and a variety of other health care problems. There is also evidence to suggest that appropriate use of marijuana may be part of the solution to the opioid crisis.

With growing social acceptance of cannabis use for medical and recreational purposes, employers need to ensure their safety and workplace policies are accurate, consistent and effective. With newer laws in place, there will be greater protection for employees with prescription for use of medical marijuana. For example, Illinois state law prevents employers from discriminating against registered medical marijuana patients.

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recently published a report on the health effects of marijuana and the need for more research to be conducted to develop a comprehensive understanding of the health effects of marijuana and potential steps to overcome regulatory barriers to this research. The FDA recently approved three cannabinoids (CBD) as drugs – a cannabis plant-based oral solution for seizures (does not contain the psychoactive compound found in cannabis that produces the typical "high" feeling) and two synthetic drugs to treat nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy (does contain both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient that makes people high, and CBD).

This program will help employers:

  • Understand the key issues – coverage challenges, safety in the workplace, FDA designation as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, inconsistencies in growing, manufacturing and testing, and adverse selection of employees
  • Identify what is working with employers in Canada
  • Hear employer case studies from states where it is legal – drug free workplace policies; reasonable accommodations; potential employer risks including issues such as workplace safety and “employer of choice” issues
  • Learn how to prepare if it becomes legal in your state(s)
    • Recognize state mandates and how to use preferred marijuana networks
    • Determine the right plan designs changes such as prior authorizations, yearly maximums, coverage criteria and testing rules
  • Use of Health Spending Accounts (HSAs) or Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) for payment coverage of medicinal marijuana

Registration Information:

Links to register and save to your calendar are below
Members $0
Employer Non-Members $35 Need a Promo Code?
Non-Members $75

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Lori Hurtt
(312) 372-9090 x102

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