State-specific Marijuana Information for Employers
By Dee Mason, Working Partners®
Although it is still against the law at the federal level, states are legalizing medical and the recreational use of marijuana – at breakneck speeds. These laws are inconsistent and changing constantly. Adding those difficulties to the withering available workforce and the continued increase in positive drug tests, leaves employers facing critical, dynamic questions concerning employee use of marijuana and the operationalization of their drug-free workplace programs.
Should I continue testing for marijuana ... can I test per the law? What action should be taken if an employee comes forward and announces marijuana use for a medical condition? What action can I take if the employee who tests positive says they used their medical marijuana last night and not at work or, if they say they legally used recreational marijuana off-duty?
We are honored and excited to partner with National Drug Screening (NDS) in providing actionable resources to equip employers with knowledge and important considerations regarding the variances in marijuana laws across the U.S. For example, disability protections have expanded to protect employee use of marijuana in some states – which ones and are more following suit? Then there’s Nevada that says, with only limited restrictions, employers cannot deny employment to a candidate who tests positive for marijuana. Soon in New York City, employers will be prohibited from even including marijuana in a pre-employment drug test panel. Many states will permit employers to take action if the employee is under the influence of marijuana without ever defining “under the influence.” In Arizona, a positive test alone is not sufficient to designate the employee as under the influence.
Is your head spinning yet?
There is a plethora of sites where an employer can confirm the basics about a state’s marijuana laws. But be forewarned, the specifications read today can quickly change – and have! And, is that enough information? “We wanted to go beyond and have NDS provide something different, something more efficient to employers struggling with these issues,” says Owner and President, National Drug Screening, Inc. “We are excited to collaborate with Working Partners® (Canal Winchester, Ohio) to help us provide relevant up to date information for employers to make decisions on marijuana and their workplace”
The new NDS resources tool will provide a ‘quick-read’ about a state’s laws on marijuana. But more importantly, NDS resources will enable employers to understand and literally have a road-map demonstrating the variables employers need to consider (i.e. other impacting laws, court decisions), provide guidelines for employer decision-making, and denote the starting place for employers to work with competent counsel or consultants to refine their approach to employee marijuana use. Specifically, you can expect:
- S. map on the NDS website where site visitors can roll over any state and quickly view cursory information about the legality of marijuana in that state,
- state-specific detailed reference pages that address topics of concern to employers, including testing, hiring, termination, discipline, and possession, along with look-up references, and
- an educational article to help employers understand the variables to consider when researching a specific state where they have employees working – plus a checklist of issues to use as guidance.
Look forward to this resource to help you navigate marijuana in the workplace. Additional resources on our web site can be found at: