High Times for U.S. Employees: Human Resource Management Considerations in Addressing Marijuana Legalization in U.S. Organizations

Wendy N. Buice, Steven V. Cates


Recent changes in state laws have legalized marijuana use for their state citizens. Originally by 2016, twenty-six states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico had legalized marijuana for medical use (State Medical Marijuana Laws, 2016). In the 2020 elections eighteen states, two U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia legalized recreational use of cannabis. We now have thirty-six states, four U.S. territories, and D.C. who have legalized medical use of the drug use (State Medical Marijuana Laws, 2021). This however creates some major issues for Human Resource professionals due to the fact that federal law still considers marijuana use illegal. This creates a confusing situation for organizations and especially Human Resource professionals who must create and enforce policies on the use of prescription and non-prescription drugs within the work environment. The purpose of this research is to determine if medical marijuana should be protected in the workplace and under what conditions. Based on the literature three research questions were posed and three hypotheses were tested based on analyzing data from a survey questionnaire that was completed by 57 working adults. Results indicate that they support the use of medical marijuana as a viable medical treatment and companies should recognize and support this medical remedy. Results indicate employees should be protected in their use of marijuana under the FMLA. Results also indicate marijuana should also be considered for long-term and permanent illnesses under the ADA. Implications are employees see marijuana in a positive light, as a viable medical treatment, and expect human resource management to support policies that allow for use of marijuana.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/aef.v8i6.5397


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Applied Economics and Finance    ISSN 2332-7294 (Print)   ISSN 2332-7308 (Online)

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