Karen Pierce

Karen Pierce

Organization - Working Partners


Business Implications Of Ohio HB 523: Legalizing Marijuana As Medicine

Learning Objectives

1. Raise awareness about the highlights of Ohio HB 523;

2. Raise awareness about workplace implications of the law; and,

3. Identify best-practice approaches to maintaining a safe, productive and drug-free workplace in light of this law.


With the passage of Ohio HB 523, residents with a recommendation from their doctors can possess and use marijuana as medicine. While the law outlines specific protections for employers, it is important that businesses think through the ramifications of this law and how they will operationalize their drug-free workplace programs within in this law.

At this session, Working Partners will explore the business implications of HB 523 within an organization's' drug-free workplace program.


Karen is the Managing Director of Policy Development & Training for Working Partners®, a training and consulting firm specializing in helping workplaces minimize the risks associated with substance abuse. She also served as Director of the Drug-Free Workforce Community Initiative, a public-private partnership with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to address the economic threat of substance abuse by employees and job seekers in our state.

Karen has worked in the alcohol/drug profession since 1982 and has devoted the past 25 years of her career to drug-free workplace issues. She received an undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University in Child and Family Development and Masters' degrees in Social Work & Public Policy & Management from The Ohio State University.

She began her career as a chemical dependency counselor in an outpatient clinic in Coshocton, Ohio. Upon moving to Columbus, Karen served as the Director of Adult Services at CompDrug and administered the award-winning HOPE Hotline. She also served as a consultant to the Ohio Credentialing Board for Chemical Dependency Professionals, where she facilitated the development and marketing of alcohol/drug prevention credentials for the State of Ohio.

Karen currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Prevention Action Alliance and the Alcohol Drug Abuse Prevention Association of Ohio's (ADAPAO) Prevention Think Tank. She has received several distinctions for her work in the prevention field including the Alcohol/Drug Abuse Prevention Association of Ohio's "Excellence in Prevention" and "Prevention Advocate" awards.