On February 22, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA). Among other things, the 240-page measure legalizes the recreational use of marijuana for adults age 21 and older and—unfortunately for employers—places significant burdens on companies doing business in New Jersey with respect to marijuana and the workplace. Among other things, CREAMMA prohibits an employer from taking adverse action against an individual solely because that person does (or does not) use marijuana recreationally and, in doing so, creates a new “protected class” under New Jersey law. CREAMMA also imposes on an employer the obligation to conduct a “physical examination” of an individual along with any drug test for marijuana and calls for employers to use certified “experts” to make decisions about an individual’s usage of, or impairment from, marijuana when employers conduct such testing.

CREAMMA represents a radical change in New Jersey employment law, and complying with the various employment-related provisions of the law will not be easy. Employers may want to take steps now to ensure their policies and practices do not run afoul of this new law.

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Photo Credit: State of New Jersey