Addressing Workplace Safety Issues with Medical Marijuana Must Be Prioritized Before Legalizing It Recreationally

Last week, the PA Senate Law and Justice Committee held a second hearing to discuss legalizing recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth. The committee heard from industry experts about regulating the product and ensuring economic growth. Currently, 18 states have legalized recreational marijuana use, including New Jersey and New York. Legalization will be on the ballot in Maryland this fall.

Sen. Mike Regan, R-York, who chairs the Senate Law and Justice Committee, announced plans to introduce legislation legalizing adult-use cannabis to help fund law enforcement last fall alongside state Rep. Amen Brown, D-Phila. Last year, Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, became the first Senate Republican to support adult cannabis use, introducing a legalization proposal with Sen. Sharif Street, D-Phila.

However, the PA Chamber believes that legislators must address employer concerns with medical marijuana and workplace safety before considering the legalization of recreational marijuana. In a letter to the PA Senate Law and Justice Committee, the PA Chamber urged the committee to carefully consider how employers will manage recreational marijuana among the workforce.

Unfortunately, employers are already experiencing the consequences of lawmakers failing to consider the employer’s perspective related to marijuana policy. Several years following the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, employers report significant confusion with the law and a lack of clarity that complicates their ability to maintain a safe work environment, particularly in safety-sensitive industries. Senate Bill 749 seeks to address ambiguity in the law, but it is still pending in the Health and Human Services Committee.


Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.