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What Should Employers Do To Be Ready For The Legalization Of Marijuana?

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

How do you prevent employees from showing up to work high? What sort of provisions should be included in an employee handbook? Those are all questions raised at the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues event Thursday morning. Thursday's panel was the first in a series tackling the topic of legalization of marijuana and what it means for businesses.

Legalizing marijuana in New York State did not make it into Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2020 state budget, but it's something the governor has said he is still looking into. 

A panel of experts from HR, business law, and law enforcement spoke about what employers should be doing right now to be proactive and ready if the legislation is passed.

"Most employers are going to want to have a policy that at least says they don't allow any impairment at work and that they don't allow use at work, possession at work. Many employers are going to have drug testing policies, but not all," says Dawn Lanouette, a partner at HH&K. 

Lanouette says those policies should be similar to those that address drinking at work or in the parking lot. Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Conway says employers should come up with a system for recognizing impairment and train their managers. 

"One thing we do know in this law, both the drafts have a heavy emphasis that the burden is on the employer to prove this and so an employer has to know how to go through that process and document that process," says Conway.

Future events in this series will be held on May 16th, May 30th, and June 14th. For more information and to register visit the Chamber's website.