Marijuana and Workplace Policies: An FAQ for Employers

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Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, up to 22.2 million people have used marijuana in the last month.

But with medical and recreational marijuana becoming increasingly legal across the US, it can be tricky for employers to determine when employees are working under the influence and when to fire an employee for drug use. To help you get a better understanding of marijuana in the workplace, here are some frequently asked questions about marijuana and workplace policies:

  • Am I allowed to have a zero-tolerance policy? Enforced zero-tolerance policies are acceptable in states that haven’t placed limitations on employers. But it’s important to understand any specific accommodations you’re required to make if your state offers protections for medical marijuana.
  • Is a positive drug test enough to determine an employee is impaired? This is a common problem that many employers are facing. Many drugs can remain in the system for two to four days at a time and so an employee may test positive on a drug test despite using marijuana off the clock. One case involving the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals found that a positive drug test alone doesn’t prove that an employee consumed marijuana at the workplace or was under the influence while on the clock. That being said, it’s recommended to keep a record of your employees’ behavior to watch out for negative performance patterns, excessive absences, or tardiness that could be related to substance use.
  • What can I use to determine if an employee is impaired? As mentioned above, determining an employee’s impairment will depend on specific observations. Be observant of your employee’s appearance, behavior, speech, or body odors that are out of character for your employee. Confirmatory drug test kits can provide additional support that your company’s drug and alcohol policy has been violated.
  • Can I still test for marijuana if it’s legal in my state? Testing for marijuana and THC can continue if your workplace drug and alcohol policy includes it.
  • Can I ask an employee or job applicant about their medical marijuana status? Depending on your state, it could be a violation of state law to request a disclosure of a job applicant or employee’s medical marijuana status. Most states that have legalized medical marijuana have confidentiality protections for registered patients.

It’s important to continue using drug test kits for your workplace even with the legalization of prescription and recreational marijuana because workplace safety is a priority. By not testing an employee for marijuana, you put yourself at risk for negligent hiring practices and greater worker’s compensation claims.

If you’re looking for drug test kits including rapid drug screen testing and urine drug tests, Drug Screen Compliance has the drug test kits you need. To learn more about our drug tests or for information on our background check services, contact Drug Screen Compliance today.

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