Recently, numerous states have begun to modify their approach to marijuana laws, making medical marijuana legal and in some cases even recreational marijuana. New Mexico is one of the states that has medical marijuana laws in place, and the use of the drug to treat debilitating medical conditions has impacted the lives of many.
But the initial law wasn’t clear when it came to the way that it broke down protection for employees and applicants seeking employment. That has recently changed, and on April 4, 2019, the New Mexico governor signed changes into effect that increased those protections.
In the past, the use of drug testing facilities was common for employers, and these new laws made it more difficult for employers and employees to understand just what their rights are. Here’s a breakdown of what the new explanations mean and how they impact employers relying on drug testing facilities to help them screen employees.
• Under the new law, employers can’t take an adverse employment action based on the use of medical marijuana outside of work.
• This means that employers may not use medical marijuana use as a reason for termination, non-hiring, or punishment.
• Employers are still allowed to take actions such as termination or suspension if an employee is found to be using or impaired y medical cannabis while working.
• Employees aren’t protected from criminal prosecution if they’re found to be in possession of marijuana in the workplace.
There is one clear thing to remember as well – if a safety sensitive position is that which the employee is applying for or working in, these rules don’t apply. Jobs that can impact the safety of the employee or others – driving, medical, and other positions – are positions that employers can immediately refuse to provide employment based on drug use.
With these new regulation changes in mind, it is important that employers in New Mexico take the time to review their existing drug testing policies. This way they can determine if their policies currently meet all applicable regulations and that they are able to keep their workplace safe no matter what. Once your policy is reviewed, it’s worth training managers and supervisors to ensure that they understand the regulations and that they are able to identify and manage them.
While marijuana laws will likely continue to change over the years, one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that employers still have the right to protect themselves and those at their workplace with the help of drug testing facilities.