Expert: Pot is legal now, but don't take it to the holiday work party

How high or low are your expectations for your company holiday party? 

That is the question bosses may want to check on. They always have to think about things you probably haven't.  

"Just because we are not in the office right now doesn't mean that you can behave as if you're out with your friends," said Deborah Brouwer, Nemeth Law. "You should behave as one of our employees at a business function."

Brouwer, a partner with Detroit-based labor and employment law firm Nemeth Law, says behaving means adding another thing to the list at the party.  Marijuana.  

"The state just announced yesterday that for entities that are already licensed to sell medicinal marijuana, they can use up to 50 percent of what they have available with some limitations for recreational marijuana as of December 1," she said. "So the timing might be interesting for those holiday parties."

So it's legal to use marijuana. So what happens if employees decide to indulge-adding a little extra green to the colorful holiday palette of food, drinks, coworkers and bosses?

"The answer for the employer is to say no, we are not going to allow or bend our rules or allow any drug use at our holiday party whether it is legal or not," said Brouwer. 

But it's hard to tell.

"That is the tricky part with marijuana. It is much easier if someone has taken too much alcohol and is wearing the proverbial lamp shade or dancing on the table tops," She said. "Marijuana may not necessarily have that impact on the employees. But I think the starting point is for the employer to say you can't and if we ever learn that you do or that you do you will be disciplined. That's our rule. It's a zero tolerance policy."

Instead of waiting for the party, this attorney has one preemptive advice that bosses can put out there before the smoking or vaping begins. 
Maybe an email that says this:

"Even though we are moving this event away from our actual work premises, we still expect people to behave professionally, appropriately and to follow all of our workplace rules. And this year you need to include our workplace rules include our zero tolerance drug policy," she said.