A legislative committee approved a bill legalizing recreational marijuana and another measure adopting employer protections against workplace use of the drug.

The Judiciary Committee April 8 approved legislation legalizing the retail sale and possession of cannabis and erases criminal records of people convicted of low-level drug offenses.

The committee also approved SB 1089, which provides that employers are not required to make accommodations allowing employees to use or possess cannabis in the workplace or work while under the influence of the drug.

Lawmakers added substitute language allowing employers to implement a policy prohibiting cannabis possession at workplaces—but it must be in writing, applicable to all employees, and provided to each employee before being enacted.

The committee acted after CBIA and some of Connecticut's largest employers called for lawmakers to adopt employer protections similar to those offered by other states.

The legalization of recreational marijuana has major implications for Connecticut employers, including those companies with federal contracts that are required to drug test employees.

Federal Issues

Representatives from General Dynamics Electric Boat, Lockheed Martin Sikorsky, and United Technologies Corporation shared their concerns with lawmakers last month.

In a joint statement, the three urged lawmakers to adopt policies similar to California, Oregon, and Vermont.

Those states have no employment protections for recreational marijuana users, with statutes that declare that employers—specifically federal contractors—can manage their businesses as they see fit, and comply with federal laws and contracts.

"As federal government contractors, we are required to have a workplace that is free of controlled substances under the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988," the three companies told lawmakers.

"Protections such as these are necessary for us to do business in this state while still meeting our obligations."

Manufacturers are also worried that legalization will hamper workforce development efforts.


For more information, contact CBIA's Louise DiCocco (860.244.1169) | @LouiseDiCocco