What You Need To Know If You Have Employees Who Use Medical Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Since 1996, 20 states and the District of Columbia have enacted some form of legislation that allows for the non-criminal use of marijuana for medical purposes, with more states likely to follow suit.

Colorado and Washington are the only states at this time that allow for the recreational use of marijuana. Employers who operate in these states may be uncertain about what circumstances they can take action with respect to an employee who fails a drug test or otherwise admits to being a medical marijuana patient.

Here are some points worth keeping in mind:

In Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine and Rhode Island, employers may not refuse to hire or otherwise penalize an individual solely on the basis of that individual’s status as a qualified patient for medical marijuana use. Additionally, Arizona and Delaware strictly prohibit discharging, penalizing or refusing to hire lawful medical marijuana users based upon a positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites unless (s)he used, possessed, or was impaired by marijuana while the patient was on the employer’s premises or during work hours. This means in Arizona and Delaware, a positive test result alone will not provide the employer with sufficient grounds to discharge. The employer must have additional evidence that an employee was under the influence of marijuana while at work.


Legal Marijuana, Drug-Free Workplaces On Collision Course

COLORADO:  Marijuana legalization is on a collision course with employers wanting drug-free workplaces, say two attorneys on the front lines of the new legal battlefield.

Legalization of pot also is the enemy of employers seeking to maintain high quality, low absenteeism and steady healthcare costs, says an addiction counselor.

Increased marijuana use is producing more Americans unfit for work and unable to lead productive lives as the head of healthy families, says counselor Richard Taite. In 2003, Taite, who is a recovered addict, founded Cliffside Malibu, an upscale addiction rehabilitation center located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

In the face of increased marijuana use, both Taite and Colorado attorney Danielle Urban agree business leaders have the right to protect themselves and hold their ground on drug-free workplaces. Urban works for Fisher & Phillips Attorneys at Law in Denver and has been involved in workplace issues across the country.

Washington Employers: Marijuana Legalization In Washington State Won’t Prevent Workplace Drug Tests

WASHINGTON: Misinformation about the legalization of marijuana in Washington State could result in termination, if an employee tests positive for a drug test in a company that has a zero-tolerance drug policy. Employer’s zero tolerance drug policies are not affected by the new law.

“Legal recreational and medical use of marijuana does not give employment protections to employees who fail employer drug tests,” according to Kara Craig an attorney who specializes in employment and labor law issues for Washington Employers, the region’s largest HR consulting organization. “Drug testing focused on ‘any detectable level’ will remain enforceable for pre-employment, reasonable suspicion or post-accident situations.” [Read more…]