The House Insurance Committee considered two bills that would ensure critical workplace safety is not compromised by Missouri’s legalization of recreational marijuana.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports two House bills (HB 1990 and HB 2135) that clarify the state’s workers’ compensation statutes and assist employers who wish to maintain drug-free workplaces for the benefit of their employees and customers.
Missouri voters legalized the use of recreational marijuana in 2022, creating a gray area in the state’s workers’ compensation law with regard to drug testing for workplace injuries.
Currently, employee use of alcohol or unprescribed controlled drugs in violation of employer policies results in a reduction of workers’ compensation benefits in the case of a workplace incident. These bills seek to maintain the current consideration for marijuana use in workers’ compensation cases and provide clarity for employers who wish to perform drug tests.
HB 1990 is sponsored by Rep. Sherri Gallick (R-Belton) and HB 2135 is sponsored by Rep. John Voss (R-Cape Girardeau). The bills only apply to recreational marijuana, as employees who possess medical marijuana cards are subject to workplace protections specified in the constitutional amendment.
Representative Voss noted that there have been many changes to workers’ compensation laws over the years and that the “emphasis in recent years has been on balancing the interests of employers and employees.”
He added that it is clear from the language in the 2022 constitutional amendment that marijuana is still not allowed in the workplace when companies have a drug-free policy. However, there is currently no specific mention of marijuana in the workers’ compensation laws.
Representative Gallick emphasized the importance of workplace safety and said it is “top of mind” for business owners.
“This is a common-sense step to protecting everyone in the workplace,” said Phillip Arnzen, direction of legislative affairs for the Missouri Chamber. “Like alcohol, recreational marijuana use is now legal. But, also like alcohol, the use of marijuana should not put others in the workplace in danger and if marijuana use violates the employer’s drug-free policy, workers’ compensation benefits should be adjusted accordingly.”
For more information, contact Arnzen at email@example.com or 573-634-3511.