Does Legalized Marijuana Effect Workplace Policies?

In short, not much. This may sound surprising but employees working in states that have legalized recreational marijuana use still subject to prosecution under federal law.

Legalized Weed and the Workplace

Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have all legalized recreational marijuana use and everytime another state legalizes, a new batch of stories pops up about whether or not employers can maintain drug-free workplace policies. The answer is: Absolutely.

Federal Law Overpowers

One of the hottest topics of the marijuana discussion is federal law. Marijuana has been deemed illegal by the DEA because there are no scientific findings that it is a useful medication. However, for scientists to be able to test the drug they have to wait for it to be legalized by the federal government. It’s a catch-22. This is why states can legalize but the federal government cannot.

Employer Rights

Legalization of marijuana does not affect an employer’s ability to enact and enforce restrictions related to drug possession, use, impairment, and testing in the workplace. Each state has very specific verbiage on what and how people may use marijuana.

Workplace Policies

While there are some advantages to drug testing, such as reduced health insurance costs and a minimized workplace health and safety risks, there are some disadvantages. Workplace drug policies have to be very specific in the facing or relaxing marijuana laws and the opioid epidemic. Some business are approaching workplace policies by educating employees on addiction and alternative medicine practices, such as meditation, exercise, and other pain management.

Updating your policies:

  • Partner with your insurance carrier, medical provider, and EAP providers.
  • Update existing drug and alcohol policies if over two years old; particularly, with respect to state laws and changes in your company culture.
  • Ensure confidential access to help and treatment.

If your business is in need of a reliable drug testing or wellness program, please contact Test Smartly Labs today.

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