Medical marijuana use was legalized by ballot initiative in 2000, followed by the June 2001 passage of AB453 and effective October 1, 2001. Cannabis became legal in Nevada for recreational use effective January 1, 2017 following a ballot initiative in 2016. Both medical and recreational use of marijuana present complex issues for hospitals in terms of both employment and resident rights.

In 2013, an RN was attacked by a patient at Sunrise Hospital and recommended medical marijuana by his treating physician. After a second attack by a patient in 2017, the same RN tested positive for marijuana and was terminated. This case (Nellis v. Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center) is awaiting its trial date, likely early 2020. Hospitals should pay attention to this case and its final decision, as there are many implications for healthcare employers in Nevada. Click here to read more on this case from the State Bar of Nevada. 

Further, AB132 was passed during the 2019 Legislative Session, which prohibits the denial of employment because of the presence of marijuana in a screening test taken by an employer with certain exceptions–including that if the prospective employee “in the determination of the employer, could adversely affect the safety of others.” Additionally, the provisions of the law do not apply “to the extent that they are inconsistent or otherwise in conflict with the provisional of federal law”. Click here to read the full text.