Tennessee - Considerations for Marijuana in the Workplace

Medical
Marijuana Law:

Recreational
Marijuana Law:

No Broad Laws
Legalizing Marijuana*:

*Marijuana is either totally illegal, or there may be laws decriminalizing possession, or use of marijuana, or, the state may have a CBD law legalizing THC at a level constituting marijuana-derived CBD.

Employer Concerns – Significant to Review

  • Marijuana for medical or recreational use is illegal in Tennessee, except for qualifying patients who need CBD products per state requirements and as part of (TN SB 2531) “… a clinical research study on the treatment of intractable seizures when supervised by a physician practicing at … a university having a college or school of medicine.”
    • Under Tennessee SB 2531, CBD products must be properly labeled and contain less than 0.9% THC for intractable seizures.
    • Under Tennessee SB 280 (2015), patients must acquire state-legal CBD in the U.S., but outside of Tennessee.
  • There are drug testing and reporting requirements for employers with 5 or more employees providing construction work to state or local governments and for employers in the licensed healthcare industry.
  • Tennessee has a voluntary drug testing law that, although not required, if an employer elects to comply, they will qualify for a workers’ compensation premium discount. It does require testing for marijuana, as well as many other detailed protocols (i.e., giving 60 days’ notice before testing commences, training and education, retention of records, timing for rebuttal, duration of follow-up testing).
  • Tennessee has unemployment and workers’ compensation voluntary laws that, although not required, with compliance, an employer has greater latitude to deny claims.

Testing

  • Under TN Comp. Rules & Reg 0800-02-12-.06, employers participating in the premium discount program for workers’ compensation will now accept oral fluid specimen as valid.
  • See Other Impacting Laws below.

Hiring/Termination

Discipline

Use/Possession

Other Impacting Laws

(e.g., drug testing, workers’ compensation, unemployment)
  • It is illegal for an individual to drive or be in physical control of a vehicle while under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, controlled substance, drug or combination thereof.
  • Tennessee has unemployment and workers’ compensation voluntary laws that, although not required, with compliance, an employer has greater latitude to deny claims.
  • If an employee refuses a drug test when required or has a positive drug test and is discharged for misconduct, she or he will be ineligible for unemployment benefits.
  • If an employer is operating a drug-free workplace per the state’s voluntary drug-free workplace/drug testing program, they will have the benefit of presumption that an injury from an accident was proximately caused by the employee’s drug use.
  • Apply the Checklist of Impacting Issues to Research provided by NDS for additional state laws and issues that can relate to and/or impact your operations regarding employee use of marijuana.

Sources

(e.g., Bill Number, Authority)
Disclaimer

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.

Caution

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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