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Get Ahead of the Curve - Setting Marijuana Policies in Your Small Business

Get Ahead of the Curve – How to Set Marijuana Policies in Your Small Business

With the legalization of marijuana in several states, including Minnesota it’s becoming increasingly important for small businesses to develop policies that address employee drug use. Whether you’re running a retail store, a tech startup, or any other type of business, it’s essential to have a clear policy in place to ensure that your employees are working safely and effectively. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how your HR department should set marijuana policies in your small business and get ahead of the curve.

Understand the laws in your state

The first step in setting marijuana policies in your small business is to understand the laws in your state. While several states have legalized the medical and/or recreational use of marijuana, laws differ significantly. For instance, in Colorado, drug-free policies remain applicable in the workplace, whereas in California, it is illegal to discriminate against employees or job applicants using medical marijuana. Familiarize yourself with the specific laws in your state, and ensure that your policies comply with those laws.

Decide on your drug policy

Once you understand the laws in your state, it’s important to decide on your drug policy. Will you allow employees to use marijuana, or will you enforce a drug-free workplace policy? If you choose to allow marijuana use, will you permit only medical use, or recreational use as well? Will you require drug testing for employees, and if so, how frequently? These are all important questions to consider before drafting your policy.

Be clear and consistent

Whatever policy you choose to implement, it’s essential to be clear and consistent. Ensure that all employees are aware of your marijuana policies, and that they understand the consequences of violating those policies. For effective policy enforcement, ensure that all employees are held to the same standards. Include drug testing procedures in the policy and specify the testing frequency and timing (e.g., pre-employment, random testing). Consistency is crucial, and can be achieved by outlining a clear set of protocols to be followed uniformly.

Address medical use

It’s essential for small businesses located in states where medical marijuana is legal to address this in their policies. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is illegal to discriminate against employees who use medical marijuana.. Be sure to define any concessions that you’ll provide to employees using medical marijuana, such as permitting its use during work hours for medical purposes.

Consult with legal professionals

Consulting legal professionals can help small businesses navigate the complex laws related to marijuana use. An experienced attorney can ensure your policies comply with legal requirements, as well as draft fair, clear, and consistent policies that are legally sound.


As marijuana legalization increases, setting clear policies on employee drug use is crucial for small businesses. To achieve this, it’s important to understand state laws, formulate a drug policy, communicate it consistently, account for medical use, and consult with legal professionals. These measures will help establish effective workplace marijuana policies that ensure the safety and productivity of employees. Get ahead of the curve – start developing your marijuana policies today.

Contact HR Business Partners a Minneapolis, MN-based HR Consulting firm specializing in HR Outsourcing services today to discuss your individual HR needs.