Regarding medical marijuana, (Arizona Revised Statute 36-2813) “Unless a failure to do so would cause an employer to lose a monetary or licensing related benefit under federal law or regulations, an employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination or imposing any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person based upon either: status as a cardholder,” or solely for testing positive unless they used, possessed, or were impaired at work.
The Arizona Drug Testing of Employees Act (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 23-493.06) provides for a safety-sensitive position carve out to the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act allowing an employer to restrict a safety-sensitive position from a medical marijuana patient. However, as a result of a tentative ruling in the U.S. District Court in Arizona, it is strongly suggested that the courts are likely to strike down the “safety-sensitive position” exception.
With the passage of the Smart and Safe Arizona Act of 2020, recreational marijuana is legal but contains no employment protections. It appears to protect the rights of employers, (Section 36-2851(1)) “… to restrict the use of marijuana by employees or prospective employees.” Therefore, if an employee or applicant is a medical marijuana card holder, the employer may take adverse action if a positive test is the result of recreational marijuana.
(Arizona Revised Statute 36-2814) “… a registered qualifying patient shall not be considered to be under the influence of marijuana solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.”
See Significant above.
Nothing in the law prohibits the employer from taking adverse action for an employee using, possessing or being under the influence of marijuana while at work.
Employers can restrict use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or cultivation of marijuana in a place of employment.
(See Discipline above.)Potency of infused edibles is limited to 10 ML/THC per serving, 100ML per package.
Smoking is permitted as a form of ingestion as long as it is not done in a public place or open space.
Driving under the influence is illegal and consumption in a vehicle is not allowed, neither by driver nor passenger.
Other Impacting Laws
(e.g., drug testing, workers’ compensation, unemployment)
Arizona has a voluntary drug testing law and an unemployment law with details about drug testing. Although not required, these statutes provide some legal protections for employers complying with these voluntary laws including greater latitude to deny unemployment claims.
(Arizona HB 2159) This state has a drug testing requirement for bus drivers that may include marijuana.
If an applicant or employee refuses or tests positive on a drug test, an offer for employment may be withdrawn or be discharged for misconduct and ineligible for unemployment benefits.
Misconduct includes, (AZ Rev, Stat. 23-619.01) “…Repeated intoxication, whether from the use of intoxicating liquor or the use of illegal drugs, on the employer’s premises or when reporting to work, frequent absences caused by intoxication or the aftereffects of intoxication, or sleeping on the employer’s premises during scheduled work hours or inefficiency or inability to perform the employment, due to intoxication or the aftereffects of intoxication.”
Arizona H.B. 2346, specifies that nothing requires a provider of workers’ compensation benefits to reimburse a person for costs associated with the medical use of marijuana.
Arizona Revised Statutes Section 36-2801 to -2819 –Arizona Medical Marijuana Act
Proposition 207 (Arizona Smart and Safe Act) Recreational marijuana
Drug Testing of Employees Act – Carve out for safety-sensitive positions
Ariz. Rev Stat 23.10-600-699 – Employment practices
Ariz. Rev. Stat. 23-619.01 – Misconduct
Ariz. Rev Stat 23-493 – Unemployment law
Arizona HB 2346 – Reimbursement of marijuana costs
Ariz. HB 2159 – drug testing of bus drivers
This resource is designed to provide accurate information regarding the subject matter covered. It is provided with the understanding that those involved in the resource are not engaged in rendering legal counsel. If legal advice is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
Where there are quotation marks, the language is directly from published law. This information is only a summary of some issues and it will benefit the reader to review the information in context (go to the law) and in relation to other laws (e.g. workers compensation, unemployment law).
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