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More Than One-Third of Business Owners Not Prepared to Manage Legalized Marijuana in the Workplace

June 19, 2019

Today, 46 states and Washington, D.C., have enacted legislation allowing the consumption of marijuana or cannabidiol with or without prescriptions. New research from Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, benefits, human resources, and insurance services, suggests that more than one-third of business owners with fewer than 500 employees are not yet prepared to manage the impact of legalized marijuana on the workplace.

According to the Paychex study, business owners are slightly more prepared to manage legalized medical use than recreational use:

  • Legalized medical use
    • 42% - very prepared
    • 24% - somewhat prepared
    • 34% - not prepared
  • Legalized recreational use
    • 39% - very prepared
    • 23% - somewhat prepared
    • 38% - not prepared

“Marijuana legalization for medical or recreational use introduces new complexities for businesses to navigate when it comes to workplace drug enforcement policies,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. “While marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, the legislation in each jurisdiction varies and may require business owners, especially those operating in multiple states, to comply in different capacities. Developing appropriate policies for industries with employees operating heavy machinery, for example, may present unique challenges. To help our customers navigate these new laws, which can vary by industry and location, we’re encouraging business owners and HR leaders to work with their Paychex HR specialist or another trusted business advisor to develop an appropriate drug policy that works for them.”

The study revealed that, among industry sectors, professional services is the most prepared (70%) for medical use and the least prepared for recreational use (58%). Manufacturing and retail/wholesale are the most prepared industries for recreational use (tied at 64%), while manufacturing is the least prepared for medical use (64%).

For William Hummer, DDS, a dental practice in San Leandro, Calif., the legalization of marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use has sporadically impacted patients entering the door, but the office policy restricting employees from arriving at work under the influence of marijuana remains intact. 

“California legalized marijuana a few years ago, and so far the only impact we’ve seen is the occasional patient arriving to the office under the influence,” said Nicole Corvello, registered dental assistant and office manager at William Hummer, DDS. “When it comes to our employees, we follow the rule that if you can’t work and drink alcohol, you can't work under the influence of marijuana. It remains our office’s position that what people choose to do on their own time is their business.”

To view a breakdown of which states have passed marijuana legislation to date, read this WORX article ;for an infographic that also features other regulatory issues gaining traction at the state and local levels.

About the Paychex Business Survey
Paychex polled 500 randomly selected business owners with fewer than 500 employees. The survey was administered online by Bredin, a third-party research firm, between February 15, 2019 and February 26, 2019 and yielded a +/- 4% margin of error.

Disclaimer: The data cited in this news release represents the opinions of the survey respondents and not those of Paychex or its employees.

About Paychex
Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for payroll, benefits, human resources, and insurance services. By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small- and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business. Backed by more than 45 years of industry expertise, Paychex serves over 650,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2018, across more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Europe, and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. Learn more about Paychex by visiting, and stay connected on Twitter and LinkedIn.