September 2014 Bar Bulletin
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September 2014 Bar Bulletin

Up in Smoke:

The Effect of Legalized Marijuana on Employer Policies

By Michael B. Harrington


So far, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana and in two states, Colorado and Washington, it is legal to possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. Let's take a look at Washington's recreational-use law and what impact it may have for employers.

The Law

Medical Marijuana

Keep in mind that marijuana, even for medical use, is illegal under federal law. In 1998, Washington legalized medical marijuana and the following health care providers became authorized to prescribe it:

  • Medical doctors (MD);
  • Physician assistants (PA);
  • Osteopathic physicians (DO);
  • Osteopathic physician assistants (OA);
  • Naturopathic physicians (ND); and
  • Advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNP).

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