- Allison Roberts
Medical vs. Recreational Marijuana Use
I have recently been asked by clients and colleagues, with the legalization of recreational cannabis, is there a need for New Jersey's medical cannabis program? My answer is yes and here is why:
The most significant litigation thus far has been in the employment context; can an employer test or limit employee use? What is the employee's right and the employer's obligation/liability if there is use before or during work? Is the answer to that question different if it is recreational use vs. medical use? To date, there are few definitive answers yet for any of these issues. Yet it is reasonable to assume the answer to the last question is yes: medical and recreational use can and should be treated differently by employers and will vary based on the type of employment.
The legislature has expressly stated that use of medical cannabis cannot in and of itself (per se) impact a child custody determination.
While the entire concept of probable cause to search a motor vehicle based on an odor of marijuana during a traffic stop will change as a result of legalization (for drivers 21 and older), what about driving under the influence of medical cannabis? With no chemical test yet akin to establishing a blood alcohol content (BAC), will a drug recognition expert be helpful or determinative if the individual is a medical card holder? Due to these issues, I see it very necessary to keep the New Jersey medical cannabis program intact.
As a lawyer, these are all interesting questions. For my clients, "interesting" is never good. So, be sure to talk through all of these issues with an attorney who is tracking this sea change in the law if you are considering medical marijuana.
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