Kentucky Update

KY Legalizes Medical Cannabis

ATA Employment Solutions is committed to helping its clients navigate and manage everchanging compliance and employment laws.  We can help draft a new, comprehensive policy, handbook or revise your current policies to bring them up to standard with recent changes.    

You may have heard that On March 31st, KY Gov. Andy Beshear signed into law SB 47, which legalized medical cannabis. KY makes it 37 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands that allow cannabis for medical use by qualified individuals. We’ve included some of the highlights to this new law and welcome the chance to assist you as your company discusses how to proceed. 

Employers are not required to:

  • Permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, transportation, distribution, sale, or growth of medical cannabis in the workplace.


Employers can:

  • Implement policies restricting the use of medical cannabis by employees.
  • Implement policies restricting/prohibiting the use of equipment, machinery, or power tools by a registered medical cannabis patient if the employer believes that the use of such equipment would pose an unreasonable safety risk.
  • Include a provision in a contract/agreement that prohibits the use of medical cannabis by employees.
  • Prohibit or regulate the use, consumption, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growth of medical cannabis on their property.
  • Establish and enforce a drug testing policy, drug-free workplace policy, and/or zero-tolerance drug policy.


Employers can determine the impairment of a medical cannabis cardholding employee using good faith. “Good faith” includes a behavioral assessment of impairment followed by the secondary step of testing for cannabis via an “established method.” If a cardholding employee is determined to be impaired based on a behavioral assessment and drug test, the burden of providing non-impairment then shifts to the employee.

Employees that are discharged because of consumption of medical cannabis in the workplace, for working while under the influence of medical cannabis, or who tested positive for a controlled substance are not eligible to receive unemployment as long as such actions are in violation of an employment contract/agreement or established personnel policy.

For questions or assistance, please contact Traci Tyler by email or phone at 270-827-1577.