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February 2022: Mississippi Enacts Medical Marijuana Law

15 Feb

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Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of Mississippi

What happened?
On February 2, 2022, Governor Tate Reeves signed into law Senate Bill 2095 (SB 2095) also known as the “Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act,” legalizing medical cannabis.

What are the details?
Effective immediately, the law permits the use of medical cannabis to treat certain debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, ALS, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, sickle-cell anemia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, cachexia or wasting syndrome, chronic pain, severe or intractable nausea, seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, among others.

The medical cannabis law contains many favorable provisions for employers.  Specifically:

  1. Employers are not required to permit or accommodate the medical use of medical cannabis, or to modify any job or working conditions or any employee who engages in the medical use of cannabis, or seeks to engage in the medical use of cannabis;
  2. Employers are not prohibited from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking adverse employment action against an individual with respect to hiring, discharging, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment as a result, in whole or in part, of that individual’s medical use of medical cannabis, regardless of the individual’s impairment or lack of impairment resulting from the medical use of medical cannabis;
  3. Employers are not prohibited from establishing or enforcing a drug testing policy;
  4. Employers may discipline employees who use medical cannabis in the workplace or who work while under the influence of medical cannabis.
  5. The law does not interfere with, impair, or impede any federal requirements or regulations, such as the U.S. Department of Transportation’s drug and alcohol testing regulations;
  6. The law does not permit, authorize, or establish an individual’s right to commence or undertake any legal action against an employer for refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against an individual with respect to hiring, discharging, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges or employment due to the individual’s medical use of medical cannabis;
  7. Employers and their workers’ compensation carriers are not required to pay for or to reimburse an individual for the costs associated with the medical use of cannabis;
  8. The law does not affect, alter, or otherwise impact the workers’ compensation premium discount available to employers who establish a drug-free workplace program in accordance with Mississippi Code Section 71-3-201 et seq.;
  9. The law does not affect, alter, or otherwise impact an employer’s right to deny or establish legal defenses to the payment of workers’ compensation benefits to an employee based on a positive drug test or refusal to submit to or cooperate with a drug test, as provided under Mississippi Code Sections 71-3-7 and 71-3-121;
  10. The law does not authorize an individual to act with negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, in breach of any applicable professional or occupational standard of care, or to affect an intentional wrong, as a result, in whole or in part, of that individual’s medical use of medical cannabis;
  11. The law prohibits smoking and vaping medical cannabis in a public place or in a motor vehicle;
  12. The law prohibits operating, navigating, or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, train, motorboat, or other conveyance in a manner that would violate state or federal law as a result, in whole or in part, of that individual’s medical use of medical cannabis; and
  13. The law does not create a private right of action by an employee against an employer.

For more information, please see the links below:

Senate Bill 2095 (SB2095)

Article

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and review their policies to determine whether any revisions to drug and alcohol testing policies or other workplace policies will be necessary.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's Mississippi PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.


This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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