Missouri Votes to Legalize Marijuana

November 9, 2018

Tuesday’s mid-term elections enacted medical marijuana in the state of Missouri via Amendment Number 2 adding Missouri to the growing list of states who have approved similar measures. Amendment 2 legalized the growing, manufacturing, selling, and consuming of marijuana and marijuana products for medicinal use at the state level. Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under federal law, specifically the Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. § 801.

The legalization may pose some complications for employers in terms of workplace safety, accountability, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101. However, Amendment 2 includes a provision that does not permit a person to “bring a claim against any employer . . . for wrongful discharge, discrimination, or any similar cause of action . . . based on the employer . . . prohibiting the employee . . . from being under the influence of marijuana while at work or discipling the employee . . . up to and including termination from employment, for working or attempting to work while under the influence of marijuana.” (See the full text of Amendment 2 here.)

While this safe-harbor language may offer some protection for employers, it may also spark other concerns about whether marijuana usage before or during work hours is prohibited; drug testing; and how exactly “under the influence” is defined? For now, Missouri employers may want to review their workplace policies, make adjustments once the regulations are put into place, determine whether there are reasonable accommodations to be made under the ADA, and how this state law conflicts with federal law and the challenges that arise.

Amendment 2 is set to be official on or around December 6, 2018 and the Missouri Department of Health will develop regulations to implement the law by June of 2019. Now is the time to consider the Amendment and its implications; review your employee handbook; craft and implement a drug testing policy; and stay abreast of Amendment Number 2 developments.


This information has been prepared by Validity Screening Solutions for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. The content is intended for general information purposes only, and you are urged to consult a lawyer concerning your own situation and any specific legal questions you may have.


Referenced Sources: Missouri Secretary of State’s Office https://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/petitions/2018BallotMeasures

Topics: Background Checks, Drug Testing

Jessica L. Troncoso, J.D.

Written by Jessica L. Troncoso, J.D.

Jessica focuses on Validity’s knowledge base of all laws, statutes, and enforcement actions regulating the employment screening industry. Jessica began in the Quality Assurance Department of Validity in 2012 and later worked remotely with the Research Department while attending law school. Jessica worked as a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Brian C. Wimes of the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri and the Honorable Peggy Stevens McGraw of the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri.