UncategorizedMarch 2, 20230

Marijuana Legalization Initiative is on the Oklahoma ballot March 7th 2023

Oklahoma State Question 820, Marijuana Legalization Initiative is on the Oklahoma ballot March 7th 2023.

“Is my business ready for this challenge in an already scarce workforce?” is the question the mainstream business owner is asking themselves today as they see the advertisements for this initiative.

While we cannot answer that question for everyone, however, we can remind business owners that an employee’s state right to consume marijuana is trumped by a business owner’s right to keep a safe and drug-free workplace, even if state question 820 passes this fact will not change.

The link below has the details of state question 820 that all voters should take into consideration such as where the funding will be allocated from the taxes received.


Some workers, such as drivers who are subject to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) rules, must regularly pass drug tests, regardless of state and local cannabis laws. Marijuana is still a schedule I controlled substance federally and is illegal under the federal government. Therefore, employees will need to rely on federal law rather than state law for prohibiting the drug in the workplace.

While employers can hinge on the federal law, they may make modifications of their policy due to stringent labor markets based on job descriptions for safety sensitive positions.

SHRM Best Practices:

“Workplace safety is a primary concern for all employers,” Will said. “When developing drug-testing policies for safety-sensitive roles, employers should devote time and resources to an audit of the specific tasks involved in all jobs that may be safety-sensitive.”

White suggested that employers use an objective, factual analysis to evaluate whether positions are safety-sensitive. “Employers should look at the tasks performed by the employee, not just the title. [Employers should make] an individualized determination and not make generalizations as to what tasks are performed for a specific role.”

Written By:

Elizabeth Callahan, SHRM-CP

HR Consultant

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