On October 8, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (NYS DOL) published guidance relating to adult-use cannabis and the workplace under the Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA). The MRTA, which was enacted on March 31, 2021, legalizes and regulates the use, production, and sale of adult-use cannabis.

The MRTA, among other things, amended Section 201-D of the New York Labor Law. Section 201-D makes it unlawful for employers – both public and private, regardless of size – to take adverse employment actions against employees for engaging in lawful, off-duty recreational conduct. The MRTA added off-duty marijuana use to the list of such conduct.

However, under the MRTA, employers may:

An employer may not:

The October 8th guidance will likely have an effect on your current drug screening protocols. It is worth noting that New York City has banned pre-employment testing for marijuana since May 2020. The MRTA expands that ban state-wide (with limited exceptions) and limits employers’ rights to test current employees for marijuana.  Thus, it is important for employers to review their practices to ensure they are in compliance with the MRTA. We are available to help.

If you have additional questions or concerns about complying with the MRTA, please contact Chaim Book at cbook@mb-llp.com, Sheryl Galler at sgaller@mb-llp.com, or Melanie Sarver at msarver@mb-llp.com.