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Legalized marijuana could mean a gray area for NY employers and drug testing

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Marijuana legalization in New York could be a gray area for businesses and drug testing.

"We're now in new territory, we haven't thought through what we are going to do so employers are going to have to make up policies as they go along," said Richard Blondell, MD, UB Addiction Medicine Professor Vice Chair.

Dr. Richard Blondell says just because marijuana may become legal in New York state, that doesn't mean people won't face repercussions in the work place for using it.

"So it's still illegal federally and it's not legal in every state. So let's just say you're an employer and you run a trucking business, and your trucks now go across state lines. what kind of policies are you going to have for your drivers," said Richard Blondell, MD.

Dr. Blondell says it will ultimately be at the discretion of the employer. He says this is just one of several topics the state has not thought through.

"We don't know what the long-term consequences of this is going to be," said Richard Blondell, MD.

Last night hundreds of Western New Yorkers weighed in on regulated marijuana.

"When people look at the stereotype of lazy stoner. If we get rid of prohibition, then we will allow people to have higher level jobs," said Jack Porcari, WNY NORML Executive Director.

"The American Society of Addiction recommends that we wait to find out what other states are finding out," said John Gillespie, Buffalo Cardiologist.

"This information the input that we collect will be passed on to the workgroup that will be drafting legislation," said Sandra Houston, Listening Sessions Facilitator.

Some people fear legalizing recreational marijuana could lead to big problems in the future

"The vast majority of people who become addicted to heroin started out with marijuana, so for them, it was a gateway. On the other hand, most people who use marijuana don't progress to heroin but some do," said Richard Blondell, MD.


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