Why job creators are voting no on Proposition 205

  Glenn Hamer

  October 24th, 2016               

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and No on 205 this Thursday, October 27 at 2 PM are hosting a tele-town hall for employers who are concerned about the effect of legalized marijuana in their workplace. Call 1-877-229-8493, PIN 115868.  

The proposed Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act, otherwise known as Proposition 205, would massively affect existing Arizona law. Put simply, Proposition 205 would negatively impact Arizona law and policy in a variety of significant ways, including how job creators manage their workforce and workplace. 

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is proud to spearhead efforts to defeat this job-killing initiative. In Proposition 205’s 20 pages of conflicting and contradictory legalese, there are two key provisions that are particularly problematic for employers: proposed A.R.S. §§ 36-2860(A) and 36-2860(B). These two provisions, and Proposition 205 in general, are poised to wreak havoc on Arizona in a manner not disclosed in the initiative or acknowledged by its out-of-state marijuana industry backers.

The aforementioned provisions would upend Arizona’s employment laws in the following ways:

· It would rob employers of the ability to take disciplinary action against employees who test positive for marijuana, despite having a statutorily approved drug-testing policy. Want a drug-free workplace? Proposition 205 makes that more difficult.

· It would create an environment for an avalanche of wrongful termination lawsuits for employers that fire employees for using marijuana on the theory that the termination was in violation of Proposition 205.

· It would tangle Arizona businesses in a web of regulations that conflict with federal law regarding safe workplaces, safe roads and transport, and safe foods. Does your business have federal contracts? Under Proposition 205, you’ll be forced to navigate two conflicting sets of laws. 

Proposition 205 would be a trial lawyer’s dream. Compounded with the clashes above, these provisions would create conflict within laws related to various Arizona benefit programs, too. For example:

· Proposition 205 would create a situation where, under Arizona’s welfare laws, marijuana would be considered both legal and illegal, resulting in costly litigation.

· Proposition 205 would also create a situation where Arizona’s unemployment insurance laws would require a person to be denied benefits, yet it would also prohibit such denial, again resulting in costly litigation.

· Lastly, it would be virtually impossible for Arizona employers to receive a statutory discount on workers’ compensation premiums for having a zero-tolerance drug-free workplace.

Propostion 205 is a mess. Its passage would harm employers’ ability to keep marijuana out of their workplace, whille exposing them to expensive lawsuits. Arizona job creators who are concerned about our state’s ability to continue to attract and grow jobs should vote no on Proposition 205. 

WHAT:           Tele-town hall on Proposition 205’s effect on employers

WHEN:           Thursday, October 27 at 2 PM

HOW:              Call 1-877-229-8493; enter 115868 when prompted for a PIN

 Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry