Balch & Bingham's Doug Kauffman, a partner and member of the firm's Labor & Employment Practice, recently authored a new article in Business Alabama Magazine regarding Alabama's new medical marijuana law, the Darren Wesley Hall "Ato" Compassion Act, and its implications for employers.
In the article, Doug details the 16 approved medical conditions that an individual in Alabama can cite in their application for a medical marijuana card. He explains how the law is particularly employer-friendly, leaving it at the discretion of individual employers to determine if an employee's use of marijuana in the workplace is legal. He also noted that the law does not require employers to accommodate the use of medical cannabis. Additional employer-friendly provisions in the law include the lack of a legal right of action for medical marijuana users against employers who take adverse legal action based on use.
Doug's article follows a recent interview with the Birmingham Business Journal, during which he shared insights regarding the implications of the new law for employers. During his interview, he detailed that employers in Alabama have a unique dilemma- they can abide by the Alabama law and potentially violate federal law, where marijuana is prohibited. Doug summed up this contradiction by concluding that "the dilemma for Alabama employers is not what they have to do but what they are going to do."
At Balch, Doug counsels organizations on how to manage their most valuable assets: their employers. He has counseled large and small employers for over 20 years by helping them stay up to date on the law, regulations and best practices with respect to employment compliance. He also handles complaints or audits by various government agencies, such as the EEOC, the Department of Labor, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and he litigates all employment issues in court.