Right now, everything is speculative. But Missouri, which recently joined the 30 states that have legalized marijuana for medical use, is bracing for the unknown.
Proponents of the legislation hope the drug will decrease opioid dependence as a pain reliever, as well as provide promising outcomes for nearly a half dozen other medical conditions.
However, the new law may come with several logistical issues. State-issued card-carrying users may face obstacles to possessing or owning firearms. Also, Missouri workers whose jobs are federally mandated by the Department of Transportation could encounter roadblocks with drug screens that test positive for THC, the psychoactive drug found in marijuana.
The same holds true for ride-hailing workers, like Lyft and Uber drivers. Truck drivers, school bus drivers, and even airline personnel, among others, may run into difficulties navigating conditions posed by Missouri’s medical marijuana legislation. Likewise, construction laborers and heavy machinery operators working in non-federally regulated fields could find themselves in unchartered waters.
A few factors that could make this law cumbersome for a portion of Missouri’s workforce include:
- A company’s legal liability for a worker who tests positive for medical marijuana,
- A lack of established or definitive levels of THC proven to mitigate impairment,
- A myriad of zero-tolerance workforce policies, none of which scratch the logistical surface that must be considered before final legislation rolls out next year.
If that’s not enough, insurance policy holders outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace (commonly referred to as Obamacare) could take a hit with higher premiums, even though medical marijuana may actually bring down health care costs. Quite frankly, it’s all up in the air. Missouri’s health care consumers will do well to stay vigilant as this new medical marijuana legislation unfurls to see how the potential impacts, both positive and negative, shake out.