Legalized Marijuana In New York Triggers Workplace Concerns

New Yorkers aged 21 years and older can now possess up to three ounces of marijuana at home or in public. The new law has triggered immediate workplace concerns for both employees and employers; CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reports.

Video Transcript

- New Yorkers 21 years old and older can now possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana at home or in public. The new law has triggered immediate workplace concerns for both employees and employers. CBS 2's Jennifer McLogan spoke to an expert about the ramifications of legalized marijuana.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Long Island Main Street Alliance reached out to more than 70 businesses, and employers tell us as they struggle to get out of the pandemic, they're overwhelmed with the new realities of pot.

ERIC ALEXANDER: This is another challenge that they have to face that they didn't quite expect, as local businesses were not involved in the shaping of the legislation.

DANIEL ROMANO: If an employee comes in smelling like marijuana, we're limited to what we can do.

AVROHOM GEFEN: Smell would not be a symptom of impairment. Tricky situation for an employer to actually show that the employee was under the influence while they're working.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Attorney Avrohom Gefen says it's a slippery slope as New York becomes the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana, immediately allowing residents to possess small amounts. Legal sales are more than a year away. Pharmacy owner of Moby Drugs is also Farmingdale's mayor.

- Can we zone them out of our downtown and into our industrial area? Is that also legal?

AVROHOM GEFEN: Limit the sales. Limit the places in which it's allowed to be smoked.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: You cannot legally smoke weed in a restaurant, outdoor patio. And unlike cigarettes, you cannot smoke pot inside a car. Experts say the law on recreational marijuana is ahead of its time when it comes to technology and testing. Currently, companies are developing machines that may soon be a part of the workplace.

In some states, businesses are buying cannabis insurance to protect against marijuana-induced workplace and roadway accidents. Gefen says these next months should be about advice and training.

AVROHOM GEFEN: Advising employees who may think that this is open season, and they can come to work impaired. And also training supervisors to recognize what the signs of impairment are.

JENNIFER MCLOGAN: Documentation will be key to both employers and employees avoiding lawsuits. On Long Island, Jennifer McLogan, CBS 2 News.