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August 21 2018

Employers Decision to Refuse Job to Medical Pot Smoker Upheld

On August 1, 2018, the government's plan to legalize recreational marijuana will come into effect and employers will be faced with questions about how to manage cannabis in the workplace, whether medicinal or not.

Legal cases are beginning to emerge, such as a recent decision in Lower Churchill Transmission Construction Employers' Association and IBEW, Local 1620, where an Arbitrator dismissed an employee's grievance after he was refused employment based on his use of medicinal cannabis in the evenings.

In the case, the Grievor was prescribed medicinal cannabis to treat his osteoarthritis and Crohn's Disease. The Grievor sought employment as a Utility Worker and Assembler at a construction project for a hydroelectric power generation facility. Once his medicinal cannabis use became known, the employer did not offer the Grievor either role, and the ruling was upheld.

Overall, in order to avoid legal exposure, employers should ensure that they continue to assess accommodation to the point of undue hardship on a case by case basis, regardless of whether medicinal cannabis use is involved or not.