Marijuana banned from Delaware workplaces after legalization

Sam HautGovernment, Headlines



With the legalization of recreational marijuana, workplaces in Delaware will now have to contend with the increased usage that will bring.

In response to the bills, the state of Delaware implemented a new policy  May 3 for all executive branches to ban smoking or being under the influence of marijuana, similar to the use of alcohol.

Claire DeMatteis, secretary of the Department of Human Resources, said that marijuana in all forms is banned in state workplaces. 

“The State of Delaware, private corporations are updating existing policies to add the fact that the workplace needs to be marijuana free…That policy includes marijuana in any form,” DeMatteis said. “Because we know, there are some people that make brownies out of marijuana, and cookies. And none of that will be tolerated in a state building.”

The Delaware Department of Human Resources also encouraged other non-executive branch agencies to adopt and administer the same policy.

Related Story: Marijuana legal in Delaware Sunday; Carney won’t sign, veto

While recreational marijuana may be banned at work, people with a valid medical marijuana card will still be able to smoke or use edibles in state workplaces, except for those working in the Department of Corrections or in law enforcement.

DeMatteis said there are no plans at this time to change that policy, due to safety.

“You can’t, in a prison, allow a correctional officer to smoke marijuana because he or she medically needs it. And that has always been the case…First and foremost, it’s a state safety issue,” DeMatteis said. “And you just can’t have first responders, particularly in a prison setting, bringing in marijuana, medical or otherwise.”

The state isn’t the only employer updating its policy. DeMatteis said that companies like JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and colleges in Delaware are also banning marijuana in their offices.

“University of Delaware put out a big statement,” DeMatteis said. “Think about companies like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. They already have policies that now will be effective in Delaware since they operate in other states that have quote, unquote, legalized marijuana. So a lot of our private employers in the state have similar marijuana and alcohol free workplace policies.”

Adam Cantley, the dean of students at the University of Delaware, sent out an email May 1 reminding students that the use, sale, manufacturing, distribution, possession, or facilitation of the use of marijuana on campus is still prohibited.

Related Story: State Troopers urge Carney to veto marijuana bills

Under the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, colleges like the University of Delaware must ban the use of drugs like marijuana in order to receive federal funding.

The Delaware Society for Human Resource Management did not respond to requests for comment.

Jeanne Kress, the membership sales manager with the New Castle Chamber of Commerce, said that chambers of commerce don’t have conversations with businesses about their policies, so she doesn’t know if any companies updated their policies following marijuana legalization.

Ayanna Khan, president of the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce, said they haven’t talked with their members about updating their policies following legalization, but know several companies with second chance initiatives. Those initiatives involve companies hiring people who’ve previously been convicted of crimes.

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