No Employment Discrimination Protection in Georgia’s Haleigh’s Hope Act

The state of Georgia is the latest state to pass a medical marijuana bill. House Bill 1, also known as Heleigh’s Hope Act, legalizes low concentrations of cannabis oil for medical reasons. An individual who is registered with the Department of Public Health, has a registration card issued by the Department of Public Health, and contains the substance in a pharmaceutical container labeled by the manufacturer indicating the percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol is in compliance with the law. The concentration under his or her possession must be 20 fluid ounces or less. Individuals that are part of a clinical research program conducted by any authorized clinical trial or research study in the state of Georgia are also in compliance with the law if they possess 20 fluid ounces or less of tetrahydrocannabinol. Additionally, patients with cancer, sclerosis, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s disease, and sickle cell disease, may use the substance.

Although the new law is now effective in Georgia, possessing marijuana remains a prosecutable offense under Federal Law. Employers are not required to accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growing of marijuana, or have a zero tolerance policy prohibiting the on-duty and off-duty use of marijuana or prohibiting any employee from having a detectable amount of marijuana in an employee’s system while working. Employers must review the law to determine how they are affected.

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