Harris Beach Cannabis Industry Team members and partners Ross Hofherr and Douglas Gerhardt were featured in separate Rochester Business Journal articles discussing the legalized adult-use marijuana market in New York State.
Ross shared perspective on the financial services space, and open access to banking for marijuana companies. He shared that marijuana businesses in other states where use is legal have seen some success working with specialty lenders and that could potentially be an option in New York. He advises those who want to enter the industry to stay on top of the changes occurring and have their plans in place so when the opportunity arises, they will be ready to move forward.
“At this point in time an entire new market is opening up in New York,” Hofherr says. “If people don’t take the steps now, they may be left in the dust.”
Douglas covered the employer/employee side of legalized marijuana – specifically, testing for marijuana use. Pursuant to the Act and New York State labor laws, employers can’t take adverse employment action against an employee or potential employee based on their legal usage of a lawful substance such as marijuana.
“MRTA does not prohibit employers from testing for cannabis, but for a lot of employers the question is, why do it if you can’t take adverse action based on recreational use?” Douglas said.
Once the Cannabis Control Board sorts out the details, Gerhardt would like to see employers and their advisors put together an employer policy handbook that would guide them in conducting an effective identification and investigation of reasonable suspicion and erratic employee behavior that isn’t based solely on a positive for marijuana test. “I recommend that employers make it clear they are looking for a safe and effective work environment and that the scope of that policy applies to everyone,” he says.