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OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that creates the framework for medical marijuana patients in the workplace is about to go into effect.

House Bill 2612, which has been called the “Unity Bill,” includes sections specifically related to packaging and labeling guidelines or restrictions, along with “safety-sensitive jobs.”

According to the legislation, no employer may refuse to hire or penalize an applicant or employee “solely on the basis of a positive test for marijuana components or metabolites.” Employers also cannot discipline or discharge a current employee solely because they have a valid patient license.

An exception, however, would apply to positions involving “safety-sensitive job duties” such as driving or operating machinery and power tools. Safety-sensitive jobs are considered “any job that includes tasks or duties that the employer reasonably believes could affect the safety and health of the employee performing the task or others.”

Employers are not required to allow the use or possession of marijuana in any business during work hours.

Businesses can still conduct drug tests that include screening for marijuana. However, if a test comes back as positive for marijuana and the individual has a valid patient license, then an employer cannot refuse to hire, discipline, or discharge them solely because of that positive test.

If someone qualifies as a federal contractor or employer, they need to know that the bill does address employers who are required by federal law to maintain a drug-free workplace.