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How will HR Departments be affected by the Legalization of Marijuana in August 2023

Minnesota will Legalize Marijuana starting August 1st 2023: What HR Departments Need to Know

Starting August 1st 2023 Minnesota will legalize marijuana for recreational use, joining a growing number of states. This has raised concerns for HR Departments, making small business owners wonder how it could impact their operations. This blog post explores possible challenges and best strategies for HR Departments and their employees to prepare themselves for the change.

Employee Safety

HR departments prioritize employee safety, given marijuana usage can impair cognitive abilities, leading to accidents, especially in jobs requiring high awareness. To address this, updated drug testing methodologies and policies should be implemented but may be complicated due to marijuana’s federal illegality.

Performance and Productivity

HR departments may face challenges in employee performance and productivity due to marijuana’s sedative effects, similar to alcohol. This can lead to absenteeism, tardiness, and underperformance. Companies should address this concern and implement comprehensive performance review systems to identify and solve related issues.

ADA Compliance

The ADA prevents employers from discriminating against employees with disabilities, including those who use medical marijuana. However, the drug is federally prohibited, causing HR departments complications. It’s important for HR departments to address ADA compliance, provide reasonable accommodations, and enforce company policies.

Legal Concerns

Although legal in some states, marijuana remains banned under federal law. This can give rise to legal issues and potential liabilities for companies, especially if employees consume it during work hours. HR should ensure that their policies comply with both federal and state laws to safeguard the business.


The legalization of marijuana poses challenges for HR departments. Preparation is key for a smoother transition. HR must update policies, train employees, and ensure compliance with both state and federal regulations. Thoughtful preparation will result in successful and harmonious environments for all parties.

Contact HR Business Partners a Minneapolis, MN-based HR Consulting firm specializing in HR Outsourcing services today to discuss your individual HR needs, or take a look at our short explainer video