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Ohio Medical Marijuana Law and Workers’ Compensation Statutes

Ohio’s medical marijuana law became effective September 8, 2016.  As a practical matter, employers should be able to continue with drug policies in the same manner they did before the law became effective.  We will provide an in-depth review of the medical marijuana law on October 20, 2016 at our free Employment Law Seminar at the Hilton Garden Inn in Perrysburg, Ohio.

In workers’ compensation, the law addressed marijuana indirectly in R.C. 4123.54, which provides, among other things, that a claim is not compensable, where a claimant is found to have been intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance not prescribed by a physician at the time of an injury and such intoxication proximately caused the injury.  The statute also provides a rebuttable presumption against compensability where certain notice provisions have been met and a claimant is found to have been intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance not prescribed by a physician at the time of an injury.  Because the medical marijuana law permits a doctor to prescribe marijuana as treatment for certain enumerated medical conditions, R.C. 4123.54 was amended.  The statute now specifically provides a claim is not compensable where the injury is “caused by the employee being intoxicated, under the influence of a controlled substance not prescribed by a physician, or under the influence of marihuana if being intoxicated, under the influence of a controlled substance not prescribed by a physician, or under the influence of marihuana was the proximate cause of the injury.”

At this time, it is unclear how the Bureau will address medical marijuana treatment considering Ohio law considers medical marijuana a Schedule II substance, which is legal to prescribe.  Until the Bureau announces its position, employers should treat marijuana in the same manner they have prior to the new law.

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