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Don't Try This at Home...Well Soon You Can: Arizona's Workplace Pot-Luck Law (a.k.a. A Blog Post on Legalizing Potlucks...Not Pot)

So often we post about the affects of the legalization of marijuana (a.k.a. "pot") in the workplace, but today's post is a bit different; today we focus on the rules and regulations surrounding potlucks in the workplace, or at least potlucks in Arizona.

Arizona Revised Statute § 36-136 provides guidelines for health and sanitation throughout the state. Within section 36-136H(4) the state grants the authority to proscribe rules and regulations concerning the inspection and licensing of food and food-products. The statute is applicable to a wide-range of commercial and non-commercial ventures within the state, but specifically excludes food or drink that is "[s]erved at a noncommercial social even that takes place at a workplace, such as a potluck," or "[p]repared or served at an employee-conducted function that lasts less than four hours and is not regularly scheduled, such as an employee recognition, an employee fund-raising or an employee social event." The plain meaning of this statute would accordingly have me putting my brakes on when it is announced that our Arizona-retreat will be potluck in nature and last from noon to five; nope, hold your horses there, we have a 3 hour and fifty-nine minute cap on work pot-lucks that occur outside the office.

Do not despair, however, others agree that the three hour and fifty-nine minute cap is ludicrous and attempts are being made to legalize potlucks! Well, actually, I think that the focus of the proposed bill is the fact that one cannot host a potluck at a home or church (because they are not workplaces)—a concept equally ludicrous. You may think that this is a waste of government time and money, because do we really have officers regulating potlucks? Strangely enough, apparently we do. Pinal County Arizona's law enforcement has been cracking down on this type of behavior—specifically at Apache Junction Mobile Home Park and Golden Acres Mobile Home Park. (Readers- If you only click one link in the history of your browsing life, click this one which includes quotes from Pinal County resident Roger Farris which range from: "I've never lost one person in here on a potluck" to, in response to notice that potlucks were illegal outside of the workplace responded, "Who cares? So is marijuana.")

Accordingly, HB 2341 would allow common Arizona citizens outside the workplace to hold potlucks. It would not, however, extend the three hour and fifty-nine minute cap on employee-conducted functions (which I don't see as being a big problem if everyone is allowed to have a potluck—but only time will tell).

I'd love to say contact a member of Verrill Dana's Labor & Employment Practice Group if you would like to further discuss the laws surrounding potlucks, but honestly, just contact me if you have a potluck story that you think will make me laugh more than I did writing this blog post. Happy Pot-Lucking!

Topics: Ambrosia Salad, Cheese and Crackers, Chips, Deli Meats