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How Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Laws May Affect You

Published: Jul 09, 2018 by John Izzo

The laws enacted by the Legislature deal with more than just allowing patients with certain conditions to use medical cannabis. Certain rights were given to these patients, as well as certain restrictions. These include:

  • An Employer is not required to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession, or distribution of medical cannabis, and may take an adverse action against that employee.
  • An Employee discharged from employment because of medical cannabis use will not be entitled to unemployment compensation if the employer had a program or policy regulating the use of medical cannabis.
  • An Employee may be ineligible for workers’ compensation if under the influence of cannabis and being under the influence was the proximate cause of the injury, regardless of whether a physician recommended the use of medical cannabis.
  • Parental Rights allocation must consider more than the use or possession of medical cannabis.
  • Police cannot administer a field sobriety test solely based upon a patient or caregiver’s registration with the Board of Pharmacy. There must be an independent, factual basis.
  • A Renter’s status as a registered patient or caregiver shall not be the sole or primary basis for rejecting the person as a tenant, unless federal law requires rejection.

The courts will play a part in determining the rights of many in the medical cannabis industry, including patients. Some concerns may have been anticipated; others may not have been. We see courts in other states making these types of decisions.

For example, patients in Maine were recently dealt with a blow to their ability to use medical cannabis. In 2009, Maine allowed qualifying patients to possess a limited amount of cannabis for medical use. A patient was receiving cannabis for medicinal reasons, to manage chronic pain as a result of a workplace injury. Did the Workers’ Compensation Board in Maine have to cover the costs of the medical cannabis?

The Maine Supreme Court decided no. In Maine, employers are responsible for covering the costs of injured workers. The Maine Supreme Court determined that Federal Law regarding cannabis preempted the state law permissible use. The Court decided an employer who subsidized an employee’s use of medical cannabis would be engaging in conduct that meets the elements of criminal aiding and abetting. The Court would not require the employer to conduct itself contrary to Federal Law.

Ohio’s Workers’ Compensation program is set up differently. Will Ohio’s Workers’ compensation cover the costs of medical cannabis. We will find out after the program is operational.

If you have questions about the Medical Marijuana Control Program, or participation as a licensee, you should talk with an attorney at Graff & McGovern. John Izzo can be reached at or 614-228-5800, extension 5.