What would legal pot mean for state workers in Oregon?

Published on Feb 3, 2014

The Statesman Journal over the weekend raised an interesting question about what legal marijuana would mean for Oregon's state workers. Would they be required to pay the smokers' fee as part of their health insurance? How would workplace policies change?

One thing is certain, reports Hannah Hoffman. State and local police won't be allowed to use the drug.

Matt Shelby, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, told Hoffman that it's likely that marijuana would be treated the same as alcohol, "which loosely means it would be allowed during nonworking hours but any intoxication at work would not be tolerated."

He said drug testing policies, which only apply to some positions, likely would have to be reconsidered or retooled in some way. It is too early, however, to know how that would work.

Radio promotions for medical marijuana in Massachusetts are causing a flap, reports The Boston Herald.

The paper reports that the ads, paid for by New England Grass Roots Institute and airing on FM radio, claim that medical marijuana "adds to a healthy lifestyle." The ads state that people don't have to smoke marijuana to "enjoy its medical benefits” and that "this all-natural herb can be infused into almost any food or beverage."

The Herald reports that a police official thinks the ads make law enforcement's job a challenge.

State regulations bar dispensaries from making any advertising claims on “the safety or efficacy of marijuana unless supported by substantial evidence,” or “for any purpose other than to treat a debilitating medical condition.”

Marijuana-infused foods and drinks are a major part of the consumer market and yet the products don't fall under any food safety rules in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal. NPR reports on the effort by Colorado regulators to take a look at rules for the thriving infused-product industry.

The problem? Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. And that means the existing food safety system, which relies heavily on support from federal agencies, can't ensure that marijuana-infused foods are safe.

Purveyors of pot-laced foods say they want the regulation.

"We are under a microscope," says Christie Lunsford, marketing and education director for Dixie Elixirs, a manufacturer of foods infused with THC. "Even my competitors, who are food novices, they really care about providing for the consumer and making sure they're safe."


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