What Does the First Cannabis-Based Drug Mean for Employers?

The end of June was accompanied by a groundbreaking decision: the FDA approved the first cannabis-based drug. This drug, Epidiolex, is designed to help combat 2 types of epileptic syndromes. These new pharmaceutical developments raise interesting questions and problems for states, like Kansas and Missouri, where marijuana has not been legalized. What does the advancement of cannabis-based medicines mean for employers in the greater Kansas City area? 

Marijuana is Changing the Medical Landscape

Some states have evolved their medical marijuana laws, but many are not convinced. Employers may need to update their approach based on their state laws to ensure their business and their employees stay out of trouble. Here are three things employers need to keep in mind as more drugs, like Epidiole, come into the market.

Marijuana Still Illegal Under Federal Laws

30 states an Washington D.C. have legalized medical marijuana but pot is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the federal government. This puts marijuana in the same Schedule as heroin, LSD, and cocaine. These drugs are considered dangerous because they have severe safety concerns and a high potential for abuse. Employers in the greater Kansas City area need to be conscious that drugs linked to marijuana are still highly illegal on the federal level as well as in Kansas and Missouri. Your employees may need the drug for medical purposes, but our state laws do not yet give them the protection to take it.

On-the-Job Use Not Allowed

While some states protect an employee’s right to take medical marijuana under state disability laws, that shouldn’t give employees free reign to get high on the job. Employers should review their workplace drug programs and remind employees of company rules if they live in a state where engaging in certain activities is fully or partially protected.

Include Marijuana Testing in Employee Drug Testing

Epidiolex’s formula contains cannabidiol (CBD) which is a drug associated with marijuana but does not give people a high the way tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does. However, there may be some individuals who will not understand the difference and still try to pass off smoking pot as a medicinal treatment. Employers should prepare for this eventuality by testing for marijuana use in their employee drug tests. Keep an eye out for impaired work performance as this can be another indication that your employees aren’t quite following the law.

There’s no doubt that the pharmaceutical industry is going to be rapidly evolving in the coming years. That shouldn’t stop employers from providing a safe, legal place for people to work.

IF YOUR COMPANY IS IN NEED OF A RELIABLE DRUG TESTING PROGRAM, CALL (816) 800-9699 OR CONTACT TEST SMARTLY LABS TODAY. WE PROVIDE CONFIDENTIAL APPOINTMENTS AT ANY OF OUR 5 GREATER KANSAS CITY AREA LOCATIONS.

Speak Your Mind

*