Changes to Marijuana Laws, Opioid Crisis and Substance Abuse: How Employers Are Dealing with These Complicated Issues

HR Reimagined: SHRM Northern California Annual Conference 2020

Over the last decade, there have been significant changes in state laws dealing with marijuana. At first, marijuana was decriminalized in some states. Then, medical marijuana was legalized in some states. Next, recreational marijuana was legalized in a few states. Now, a majority of states have legalized marijuana in one form or another. At the same time, the country has experienced an opioid crisis. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued guidance on how employers and health care providers should handle applicants and employees who are using opioids legally or who have a history of and treatment for opioid addiction. Employers have scrambled to update their drug and alcohol policies and testing procedures, but many still are unsure about how to proceed.



  • Explore the current legal landscape of marijuana laws.
  • Review the EEOC’s guidance on drug testing and opioid use.
  • Discuss pitfalls to avoid and best practices to consider.
Date(s) & Time(s): 
Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

James Reidy, Esq.

Reidy, Esq.

James (Jim) P. Reidy is a shareholder at Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green PA in Manchester, N.H., where he is the chair of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group. He earned his B.A. from Assumption College, his M.P.A. from Northeastern University and his J.D. from New England School of Law. He has extensive experience handling matters before the N.H. Department of Labor, the N.H. Commission for Human Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor. Jim is admitted to practice in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and before the First Circuit Court of Appeals. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section. Jim is the Manchester Area Human Resource Association vice president of legal and legislative affairs, former legislative affairs vice president for the New Hampshire State (HR) Council, a member of the N.H. Business and Industry Association, chair of the N.H. Tech Alliance's HR Exchange, moderator of NHLABORNET and editor of the New England Employment Law Letter. Jim writes, lectures and presents seminars on a wide range of employment law topics. He has been a media resource on workplace law for media outlets including CNN, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times’ business magazine, Bloomberg, WMUR, NPR, The Associated Press, NPR Marketplace, BuzzFeed, Law 360, Inc., “The HR Power Hour,” “HR Break Room,” SKI magazine and HR Magazine as well as several local publications. Best Lawyers USA named Jim the 2020 Lawyer of the Year for labor and employment law (Manchester), and the NH Business Review named him one of the top 200 most influential business leaders in New Hampshire. Most recently, Jim was inducted as a Fellow into the American Bar Association College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.

Amount of Credit: 
Credit Type: 
Session Type: 
Concurrent Session
Intended Audience: 
All Levels
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