ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- After Arkansas voters legalized medical marijuana, many are wondering how it will be regulated in the workplace.
Attorney Jered Medlock, who has a practice in Fort Smith and Van Buren, said there are a lot of unknowns.
"Currently, Arkansas has workplace drug-free regulations in place,” he said. “I think medical marijuana will be interpreted the same way currently as other prescription drugs."
Medlock said patients won't be able to use medical marijuana at work.
“From an employment standpoint, you're going to have the issue of trying to determine whether you think an employee is under the influence or whether an employee is intoxicated to a level such that it impairs their ability to kind of aid in the employment function or to do their job,” he said.
According to state statutes, an employee can be penalized or terminated if they have an excessive amount of a prescribed drugs in their system.
“That's not been defined by the amendment, what an excessive amount of marijuana is going to be, so that's something the legislature will have to address at some point,” Medlock said.
The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment states an employer can’t discriminate against someone who qualifies for medical marijuana—past or present. This means the matter cannot affect a person’s hiring, firing or any term or condition of employment.
“If you terminate someone for medical marijuana use, I think as an employer, you need to be prepared to say they were impaired to the level they couldn't do their normal function,” Medlock said.
Another source told 5NEWS Wednesday (Jan. 18) that officials are working on a bill to clear up more of the unknowns regarding use of medical marijuana in the workplace. That bill is expected to be submitted to the legislature sometime next week.