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Marijuana Considerations & Laws In Washington

Medical
Marijuana Law:

Recreational
Marijuana Law:

No Broad Laws
Legalizing Marijuana*:

*In these states, 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.


Employers have so many questions! Learn More About Workplace Considerations for Marijuana Use.

What are the impacting issues of marijuana use? Review Our Checklist of Impacting Issues to Research.

Employment Information

Employer Concerns

  • Employers may establish drug-free workplace policies.
  • Nothing in the law requires employer accommodation of workplace, on-site medical marijuana use.
  • Affirmed in a case decision, an employer acting per his drug policy post-accident tested an employee who is subject to collective bargaining and the employer was found not to have to accommodate regardless of the medical marijuana status of the employee.
  •  Washington’s recreational marijuana use, Initiative 502, does not regulate marijuana in the workplace or drug testing until future studies/recommendations have been completed.

Testing

  • Employers may establish drug-free workplace policies.

Hiring/Termination

  • Employers may refuse to hire applicants or fire employees for testing positive for marijuana on a drug test, even if the use was off duty. 
  • Affirmed in case decision, the medical marijuana law does not prohibit an employer from hiring/terminating at will employees for any reason or no reason at all.

Discipline

  • Employers may establish drug-free workplace policies.

Use/Possession

  • Smoking is permitted except where smoking tobacco is prohibited.
  • No public consumption or “in view of public.”
  • Consumption for either driver or passenger is prohibited in a motor vehicle. Consumers can carry in their vehicles, but it must be in a sealed container or in the trunk. But it is illegal to transport any open package or container of marijuana or marijuana-infused products.

Other Impacting Laws (e.g. drug testing, workers’ compensation, unemployment)

  • Impaired driving for marijuana is established at 5 ng/ml in blood.
  • State law requires U.S. Department of Transportation mandated employers to report certain information to the state Department of Transportation. This could affect an employer’s drug testing protocols.

Sources (e.g. Bill Number, Authority)

  • Revised Code of Washington 69.51a – Medical marijuana
  • Initiative 502 – Recreational marijuana
  • Roe v TeleTech Customer Care Management (2009) Washington Court of Appeals, No. 38531-7-II – Case decision
  • Swaw v Safeway (2015) Washington West District Court, No. 2:2015cv00939 – Case decision
  • Revised Code of Washington 46.25.123 – Transportation related
  • Revised Code of Washington 50-20-060 to 066 – Unemployment related

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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).