March Yukon Chamber luncheon

Oklahoma law and employees with medical marijuana cards

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Attending their first Chamber Membership Luncheon are Danielle Parker of Oklahoma Educator's Credit Union on the left, and Nicole Ford of Nicole Ford & Co. on the right. In the middle is Eddie "Mac" McFadden, Post Commander of Yukon American Legion Post 160. The March luncheon was held at 10 W. Main Events, 10 W. Main St. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

By Carol Mowdy Bond

Contributing Writer

The Yukon Chamber of Commerce had its monthly Membership Luncheon on March 12th, at 10 W. Main Events, 10 W. Main St.

PIE FIVE PIZZA, which makes hand crafted personal pizzas, catered the Chamber’s March 12th Membership Luncheon at 10 W. Main Events, 10 W. Main St. Shown are, left to right, Emily and Billy Bajema, co-owners of three of the restaurants. On the right is Heather Douglas, manager of the Yukon location, which the Bajemas have owned for three years. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

Pie Five Pizza, owned by Emily and Billy Bajema, catered the event.

Michael W. Bowling, attorney and director at Crowe & Dunlevy Attorneys and Counselors at Law, gave a presentation, “Dazed and Confused,” about employers who are trying to navigate through Oklahoma law as it relates to protection afforded to employees who are medical marijuana card holders.

Bowling said SQ 788, passed by Oklahomans, set requirements to get marijuana licenses. But the state question was very broad.

The licenses, which may be obtained by those 18 or older, require a prescription from board certified physicians. But, there are no qualifying conditions.

Michael W. Bowling, attorney and director at Crowe & Dunlevy Attorneys and Counselors at Law, spoke at the Chamber March Membership Luncheon on March 12th, at 10 W. Main Events, 10 W. Main St. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

Individuals may legally carry up to 3 ounces on their persons. They may have up to 8 ounces in their places of residence. Individuals may only keep a certain number of mature plants and seedling plants in their homes.

To date, over 250,000 Oklahomans have valid medical licenses. This means 1 in 16 people have a license. And 10,000 business licenses have been sought.

There are employment non-discrimination provisions.

Bowling says, “We already have protected class categories such as race, color, religion, disability, etc. But this has created a new protected class of employees.”

Those holding “safety sensitive” jobs can possibly be disciplined if they test positive for marijuana.

Employers can refuse to hire individuals who test positive on pre-employment drug screening.

Jennifer Filipponi and Brian Filipponi, co-owners of A&A Transmission, enjoy PIE FIVE PIZZA at the Chamber’s March Membership Luncheon, at 10 W. Main Events, 10 W. Main St. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

But there are intricate laws and new issues involved with an employee who gets a medical license after being employed.

“‘Safety sensitive’ jobs are a big issue,” explains Bowling. “Examples of these jobs might include an employee who deals with hazardous materials; operation of a vehicle or equipment or machinery or power tools; repairing or maintaining of equipment which could result in injury or property damage; dispensing pharmaceuticals; carrying fire arms; direct patient care or child care workers; food handlers; and more.

“The courts will have to determine whether or not the term ‘childcare workers’ includes teachers.”

The best employer practices include limiting the overall number of persons or job positions who qualify for these exceptions. And assume the exception will be construed narrowly.

Employers should analyze job duties, keeping the examples in mind. And employers should document their process. Involve front line supervisors. In job descriptions, state if it’s a safety sensitive position.

Provide notice to those employees working in safety sensitive jobs.

Employers should update their drug testing policies. Incorporate the definition of the term “safety sensitive.”

In Oklahoma, employer must have a drug testing policy that complies with the law. They cannot ask an employee if he or she has a medical marijuana license.

It’s important for employers to already have policies in effect. For example, even if an employee smells like alcohol, an employer can’t fire the person unless the policy is already in effect that relates to that situation.

New members presented at the Chamber Membership Luncheon held March 12th at 10 W. Main Events, 10 W. Main St., are left to right, Avery Moore of ECI Insurance & Chamber Board Member; Randy Beutler, president of Southwestern State University; Kristi Kelly, Homestead of Bethany; Chuck Russell, Communication Federal Credit Union; Anu Jacob, Anu Jacob – Realtor; Heather Patterson, Benefit Solutions – AFLAC; Heather Gee, Bloom Cannabis Co.; Trey Gee, Bloom Cannabis Co.; Kenica Thomason, Yukon Chamber Vice Pres; Pam Shelton, Yukon Chamber CEO (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

Employers need to be aware of the Oklahoma Drug and Alcohol Testing Act.

2020 CENSUS

The City of Yukon wants citizens to complete the 2020 Census.

The census questions will arrive by mail. Individuals may answer the questions on-line or by phone, and Yukon is hoping for a 95% rate of response. If someone doesn’t have a computer, they may use a computer at a public library.

It takes approximately ten minutes to complete the census on-line.

The census does not ask any citizenship-related questions. The answers are not shared with anyone, including the IRS, ICE, or local police.

It’s important to answer the questions, as federal monies for streets, police, fire, schools, and other, depend on the answers. The answers also determine grants that Yukon may apply for.