Just over half of the U.S., plus D.C., has legalized marijuana in some form. Therefore, employers will likely need to create and implement a workplace pot policy sooner rather than later, making marijuana one of the newest headaches employers will have to deal with.

Gary Thill, columnist for ProSales' sister site REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR, spoke with industry professionals to get their opinions on how employers should handle the issue:

Many employers are confused about how legal weed and drug-free workplaces can co-exist. “What are my rights as the employer?” asked Art Castle, executive vice president of the Building Industry Association of Washington, one of the first states to legalize marijuana. “Some of that becomes more gray now.”

What’s not a gray area is how employers can — and should — handle legal pot. “Marijuana in the work place should be treated just like alcohol. It’s not acceptable,” said Lori Rush, president of Rush Recruiting and HR. Rush is a hiring consultant who’s also a member of the Oregon Remodelers Association, another state that was early to adopt legalized marijuana.

To deal with questions around legal marijuana — and clear up any gray areas — Rush recommends that employers update their employee handbooks to include the drug. “Wherever it says alcohol, just add the word ‘marijuana,’” she said. Then make sure employees review and sign the new document to acknowledge they understand the new policy.

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