Since early 2021, New Jersey employment law has protected workers in this state from discrimination or other adverse employment actions based on their use of cannabis outside work, as well as their refusal to engage in cannabis use. Employers may still prohibit the use of cannabis in the workplace, and they may take reasonable measures to prevent employees from working while under the influence of cannabis. State law limits the use of drug testing by employers, but the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJCRC) still has not issued final guidelines on this part of the law. It issued extensive guidelines in September 2021 that did not address employment issues. One year later, the NJCRC issued interim guidance on employment, which offers some direction on workplace drug testing.
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA) became law in February 2021. Section 48 of CREAMMA, codified as § 24:6I-52 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes, addresses cannabis in the workplace. It prohibits discrimination based on an employee’s or job applicant’s cannabis use, or lack thereof. If an employee tests positive for cannabinoid metabolites because of cannabis use that is legal under CREAMMA, their employer may not take adverse action against them solely on that basis.
The statute allows employers “to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace,” such as by not allowing employees to be under the influence of cannabis during work hours. Employers may require their employees to submit to drug tests under certain circumstances: