How does the difference between state and federal law affect employers?

Read time: 6 minutes

Federal law prohibits both medical and adult-use cannabis. However, in Connecticut, cannabis is legal for adults 21 years and older. Connecticut also has a Medical Marijuana Program.

As a result of the differences between federal and state law, employers with federal contracts or federal funding may be exempt from state law, and may follow federal law so as not to jeopardize those contracts or funding.

Connecticut law established two types of work-related exemptions:

  • Exempt employers: Examples include mining, some utilities, some manufacturers, some construction, educational services, transportation services, justice and safety-related activities, etc. These employers may treat on and off-duty employees in the exact same manner as they did prior to the legalization of adult-use cannabis.

  • Exempt positions (for non-exempt employers): Examples include firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), Correction Department employees who have direct contact with inmates, motor vehicle operators whose licenses are subject to federal law, supervisors or employees who care for children, any position subject to federal law or funded by a federal grant, etc. These employees may be subject to their employer’s policies to the same extent as was permitted prior to the legalization of adult-use cannabis. The rules for “employees” will also cover independent contractors.

Workplace and Employee Information