NYS HERO ACT
On May 5, 2021, Governor Cuomo signed the Health and Essential Rights Act (NYS HERO Act) into law, which requires all employers composing the state’s private-sector to implement workplace safety plans to prevent the spread of airborne infectious diseases, including COVID-19. This legislation was conceived to address the return of private-sector employees to in-person work across a broad cross-section of industries, as NYS begins to gradually reopen following a period of decreased business activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new landscape
On March 31st, 2021 New York State passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (“MRTA”) which legalized the use of cannabis recreationally for adults over the age of 21. It’s also legal in a similar capacity in 17 other states and is legal for medical use in 36 states. But under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, it is still illegal in the eyes of Federal Law. You can’t grow it, smoke it, or make gummies out of it. If you do, you may face serious consequences, including the loss of Federal contracts or even jail.
Some say the Federal law will change soon, but no big changes are imminent. So, what do you do if you are an employer trying to avoid liability? Or what do you do if your boss is trying to fire you for using marijuana legally? We are in the twilight zone, that space between what was, what is, and what will be. It’s sure a bit hazy. Let’s clear things up.