Many of us have laughed at movie scenes from cult classics like Half Baked, Pineapple Express, Dazed and Confused, or Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke in which the hapless stoner employee is depicted as someone who cannot perform even the simplest task correctly or fails to show up for work altogether because the employee is so “high” from smoking marijuana. Unfortunately for employers, the legalization of marijuana is no laughing matter.

The use of marijuana is now legal for medical necessity in 23 states and for recreational purposes in a few states (with legislation pending to legalize it in several other states). Marijuana use is on the rise. The popular sentiment from cash-strapped state legislatures — driven principally by a desire to capture tax revenues on the sale of the drug — is let’s “legalize it.” For employers, however, that sentiment is not so popular.

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