A large crowd of area professionals, including those that work in human resources, security, administration, small business owners and more, attended a lunch seminar on Pennsylvania’s new medical marijuana law and how it relates to workplace drug policy on Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Columbia Mall. The workshop, which was organized by the Chamber and PA CareerLink Columbia/Montour Counties and sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities, featured Juan Mayo, a workers’ compensation health & safety training specialist from the PA Department of Labor & Industry. Lunch for the event was provided by Steph’s Subs.
Among the topics of the presentation were the basics of the law, which allows medical weed cards to be published by a licensed physician for a limited number of conditions. Smoking of marijuana, for medical or recreational purposes, remains illegal in Pennsylvania. The differences between THC and CBD, two of the chemical components of marijuana, were also discussed, as was a clarification on the differences between hemp and marijuana. Most importantly, some guidelines and suggestions for how employers should accommodate medical marijuana in the workplace were also presented. Employers should be able to treat medical marijuana just like any other drug that is prescribed to an employee for a specific condition and could have side effects that could make it difficult or unsafe to do certain jobs, such as operate heavy machinery, etc. It was recommended that employers, if they don’t already do so, designed any specific positions as safety-sensitive, which makes disclosure of any medical prescriptions that could affect one’s ability to satisfactorily perform a job necessary on the part of the employee.
For those that may have been interested in the seminar but were unable to attend, the entire presentation, which runs just over an hour, can viewed below or on the Chamber’s YouTube channel.