< Back
New Laws Impacting Law Firm Management
Post on March 7th, 2024

This week features two updates related to law firm management. 

“Adult-choice” cannabis use and possession was passed by Ohio voters last November. The citizen-initiated statute went into effect late last year and the General Assembly has not modified it to date. The Division of Cannabis Control within the Ohio Department of Commerce has been tasked with completing rulemaking and licensing processes for non-medical cannabis sales. 

Non-medical cannabis retail licensure is on the clock. Per the current statute, the State must begin accepting initial applications by June 7, 2024, and issuing provisional licenses by September 7, 2024. In the meantime, Ohioans cannot legally buy marijuana in the state, and cannot transport marijuana purchased in another state across state lines due to federal law. 

With shifting social attitudes on adult use of cannabis products, employers must reconcile off-the-clock behavior with the changing legal landscape. The National Institutes of Health reported that 43% of young adults reported use of marijuana within the past year in 2021. While it is ill-advised for licensed attorneys to knowingly violate federal drug laws (even when in conflict with state law), employers must still navigate what a “drug free” workplace is for non-attorney staff members. Emerging recommendations from Ohio employment attorneys (e.g., Cavitch, Familo & Durkin, Fisher Phillips, Dinsmore), the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), and  researchers all include the creation of a thoughtful cannabis policy that reduces preventable errors and injuries, establishes legally defensible drug testing policies, and considers labor market conditions. See Prof. Conduct Rule 1.2 (d)(2). 

A second item of firm management interest is that the City of Columbus joined Cincinnati and Toledo prohibiting employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s wage or salary history while working for a prior employer. The “salary history ban” went into effect on March 1, and applies to all private sector employers with fifteen or more employees. Columbus joins other communities across the country to enact such a wage history ban with the goals of encouraging more equitable pay and making pay negotiations more fair for the prospective employee.  

For more on creating workplace policies, contact your HR or employment law professional or contact our Loss Prevention team for further resources. If you wish to inquire about increasing your Employment Practices Liability coverage, don’t hesitate to contact our OSBA Insurance Agency Senior Sales Executive, Danna Blackburn at (614) 572-0616. 

Gretchen K. Mote, Esq.
Director of Loss Prevention
Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Co.
Direct:  614.572.0620
[email protected]
Merisa K. Bowers, Esq.
Loss Prevention Counsel
Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Co.
Direct:  614.859.2978
[email protected]


This information is made available solely for loss prevention purposes, which may include claim prevention techniques designed to minimize the likelihood of incurring a claim for legal malpractice. This information does not establish, report, or create the standard of care for attorneys. The material is not a complete analysis of the topic and should not be construed as providing legal advice. Please conduct your own appropriate legal research in this area. If you have questions about this email’s content and are an OBLIC policyholder, please contact us using the information above.