Navigating Cannabis Law in the Workplace with New Maryland Policy in Effect July 1, 2023

Few issues today appear more complicated than the thicket of employment-related policies around cannabis use in the workplace.

As it stands, 46 states plus Washington, DC, allow marijuana use in some form, either medicinally or recreationally. Twenty-three states (including DC, Maryland and Virginia) have laws prohibiting employers from discriminating against job applicants or employees who use medical cannabis.

Laws around the DC/MD/VA region now are mostly in synch for both medical and recreational use. In DC, residents may use cannabis recreationally and grow up to six plants per household, but are not allowed to buy or sell it.

For Maryland, a new law goes into effect July 1, 2023 authorizing state residents over 21 to purchase cannabis products legally from a licensed dispensary. The state already permits medical use.

In Virginia, along with currently permitted medical use, adults 21 years and older may possess up to one ounce of cannabis on his person or in any public place.

In the midst of these affirmative marijuana policies in our region, the federal Controlled Substances Act, enacted in 1970, still prohibits the use, sale and possession of marijuana, classifying it as a Schedule I drug.

All told, employers in legal marijuana states, including the DC/MD/VA region, retain the right to prohibit employees from using, possessing or being under the influence of marijuana (and related narcotics and controlled substances) while at work. This is especially true for jobs with safety hazards.

Amidst this situation, companies must navigate the complexity around cannabis usage, whether medicinal or recreational, to be able to recruit and retain the employees they need, and to protect their companies from litigation.

Here are some steps employers can consider to help navigate this dynamic in the workplace:

  • Craft an employee handbook policy that states your company’s priority is ensuring a safe, productive workplace at all times.
  • Have a clear, concise policy detailing what your company’s actions or practices would be if an employee fails a required drug test.
  • Ensure compliance with relevant drug testing policies in your state or jurisdiction.
  • Note in internal policies that federal law requires drug testing for specific jobs like truck driving and testing for employees in companies with government contracts.

Ultimately, this issue is about the need for employers to do all they can to optimize and ensure workplace safety for their employees while respecting employee rights and applicable laws.

impactAction: If you have questions about cannibus use and the workplace, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

RSVP for Event with The Alternative Board’s Denise O’Neill on “Strategies for Growth,” June 13

With the economy in a state of flux, what can business leaders do now to strengthen their organizations to withstand potential market turbulence?

Rescheduled for Tues., June 13 due to demand, register to join Denise O’Neill (CEO, The Alternative Board/Baltimore Washington, and Executive Coach) and Kelly Mitchell (Principal with impactHR), for an interactive session on “Impact Your Business: Strategies for Growth.”

Denise and Kelly will lead an interactive executive-roundtable discussion on:

  • Helping you take a pulse on where you and your company are today
  • Assessing your internal/external challenge and opportunity areas
  • Strategies for building an effective talent pipeline

Who: Open to C-Level leaders, Presidents, Owners, High-Level Decision Makers

What: Networking event with Denise O’Neill and Kelly Mitchell on “Impact Your Business: Strategies for Growth” (plus, light refreshments and coffee).

When: Tuesday, June 13, 7:30am – 9:30am ET

Where: impactHR Conference Center, Suite 120, 9881 Broken Land Parkway, Columbia, MD 21046; 443-741-3900


Baltimore Business Journal Selects impactHR’s Kelly Mitchell for New “HR Impact Award”

impactHR’s Kelly Mitchell has been selected as one of three inaugural Baltimore Business Journal (BBJ) “HR Impact Awards” honorees

The BBJ‘s new award, according to its announcement, honors “executives who have made a specific, tangible impact on their workplace in the last year and have a track record of using their role to make their offices productive, creative and safe environments for all employees.”

As part of this honor, Kelly will be profiled in the BBJ‘s May 26 edition. Read more.

On a related note, Kelly last month was named one of “Maryland’s Top 100 Women for 2023″ by Maryland’s Daily Record. The Daily Record “Maryland’s Top 100 Women” annual awards program recognizes outstanding achievements by women demonstrated through professional accomplishments, community leadership and mentoring. Read more.

DC Minimum Wage to Increase for All Employers on July 1, 2023

The minimum wage in the District of Columbia will increase to $17/hour – up from $16.10/hour – for all workers, regardless of size of employer, on July 1, 2023.

Under DC law, the minimum wage is set to increase progressively each successive year in proportion to the increase in the Consumer Price Index.

For Maryland, the state minimum wage, currently $13.25/hour, is set to increase to $14/hour for large employers (and $13.40/hour for smaller employers) effective January 1, 2024. In a new development, however, the Maryland General Assembly has approved an accelerated timetable to reach the $15/hour threshold by January 1, 2024 for employers of all sizes. This measure currently awaits the Governor’s review and signature.

The Virginia minimum wage, currently $12/hour, will increase to $13.50/hour effective January 1, 2025.

impactAction: If you have questions about minimum wage policy and compliance, contact us at or 443-741-3900.

Federal Data Shows Teleworking Decreased Last Year Across Private Sector Industries

At the height of the pandemic period, in July–September 2021, 40 percent of private-sector companies and businesses had employees teleworking some or all of the time, according to new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. A year later, in August–September 2022, that number decreased to 27.5 percent.

In the information industry (including software and telecom), in contrast, the percentage of establishments with employees teleworking all the time increased from 37.4 percent in 2021 to 42.2 percent in 2022, the largest increase over this period. Read more.

In case you missed these impactNews articles . . .

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