12Jun

Attitudes towards marijuana are shifting, and for multi-state employers, completely different state marijuana legal guidelines could make it difficult to implement an organization’s drug coverage throughout a whole group.

Since 2012, 33 states, Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have legislated legal guidelines legalizing marijuana in some kind.

Regardless of the dynamic nature of those legal guidelines, no state legislation forces employers to tolerate use of marijuana within the office.

Right here’s
what it is advisable learn about federal and state marijuana legal guidelines.

What are the state and federal marijuana legal guidelines?

State marijuana legal guidelines

The nation’s altering
views on marijuana are driving legislative change in lots of states.

As of Aug. 2019, the District of Columbia and 11 states have adopted probably the most in depth legal guidelines legalizing marijuana for leisure use. These states are:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Many
states enable for restricted use of medical marijuana. Some states have broader medical
marijuana than others. For instance, Louisiana, West Virginia and some others
enable just for the usage of cannabis-infused merchandise, akin to oils or drugs.

Employment protections for marijuana utilization

The
Individuals with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination
within the office because of disabilities or sickness. The ADA particularly states
that somebody with a incapacity shall not embrace any worker or job candidate
at present utilizing unlawful medication. Nonetheless, somebody who’s in rehabilitation or is
a former drug person could have ADA protections.

There are some states which have handed legal guidelines with anti-discrimination provisions to guard staff who’re legitimate medical marijuana cardholders. These states embrace:

  • New York
  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada

Nevada legislation, which takes impact Jan. 1, 2020, restricts the usage of pre-employment drug testing for marijuana. Nevada is the primary state to ban pre-employment drug testing for the substance. New York Metropolis additionally bans pre-employment drug testing.

Federal marijuana legal guidelines

Regardless of
these state legal guidelines, all marijuana use is against the law underneath federal legislation. Marijuana is listed
as a Schedule I drug underneath the Federal Managed Substances Act.

Search
outdoors authorized counsel for steerage on federal and state marijuana legal guidelines. Creating worker
substance abuse insurance policies may be difficult as new
marijuana state legal guidelines proceed to emerge.

What are the very best practices for addressing conflicting marijuana legal guidelines?

Greatest
practices for coping with conflicting state marijuana legal guidelines within the office
embrace:

  • Realizing your state legal guidelines as they relate to medical and leisure use of marijuana in relation to:
    • Hiring
    • Drug testing (whether or not pre-employment, for affordable suspicion or random)
    • Drug-free office insurance policies
    • Participating within the interactive course of in compliance with the ADA
  • Consulting your organization’s lawyer earlier than implementing complete substance-abuse insurance policies, earlier than performing any drug take a look at or adopting a drug take a look at coverage to make sure your organization is in compliance with relevant state legal guidelines.
  • Confirming whether or not optimistic drug checks are related to medicinal use earlier than making employment selections if your organization operates in states that present protections for legitimate medical marijuana customers.

Do it is advisable replace your organization’s drug use insurance policies? In that case,
how?

As
an HR skilled, your focus will not be on the legalization of marijuana however on
sustaining office security. As you evaluate your organization’s insurance policies for
potential updates:

  • Consider leisure marijuana as leisure alcohol, with the extra understanding that in contrast to alcohol, marijuana continues to be unlawful underneath federal legislation.  
  • Evaluate job descriptions for safety-sensitive positions. If permissible in your state, prohibit the usage of marijuana primarily based on the worker’s place or tasks. As an illustration, marijuana use is perhaps prohibited for safety-sensitive jobs akin to drivers or first responders or employment with the federal authorities.
  • Advocate a drug-free coverage within the office. Staff ought to by no means be impaired by any drug or alcohol when performing job duties.
  • Perceive that testing for marijuana use will not be like testing for alcohol. Marijuana can stay in an worker’s system for weeks after a trip. A optimistic take a look at outcome might not be the one deciding issue used to find out impairment from marijuana as the reason for a office accident.
  • Work along with your authorized counsel as you evaluate and probably revise screening procedures and drug abuse insurance policies.

What must you do if an worker’s hashish use conflicts
with firm insurance policies?

If your organization operates in states with legal guidelines legalizing or decriminalizing, evaluate and replace your organization’s drug use insurance policies and drug screening practices. Outdoors authorized counsel can advise on what is required to maintain your drug insurance policies and testing in compliance.

Contemplate
including to your coverage the implications for workers who show
the behaviors of intoxication. Educate staff in your expectations and practice front-line
supervisors and managers on the right way to spot indicators of impairment, akin to:

  • Unexplained absences at or from work
  • Elevated accidents each at dwelling and at work
  • Missed appointments and conferences
  • Poor judgment and dangerous decision-making
  • Confusion or lack of ability to recall particulars and directions

Keep away from
dialogue about your suspicions of marijuana use and give attention to the worker’s
efficiency. By specializing in habits, you’ll be able to converse to the worker about violating
office insurance policies.

Search authorized counsel when coping with altering marijuana legal guidelines

As medical and leisure legalization
spreads, it’s going to grow to be more and more necessary for employers to make clear
their insurance policies. It may be particularly tough for smaller firms to dedicate
assets to remain up to date on altering marijuana legal guidelines.

Whereas it might be illegal in some states to
discriminate towards staff just because they’ve a medical marijuana card,
employers can nonetheless require sobriety at work and deal with marijuana as they’d
alcohol or prescribed drugs.

Make
your first step in search of outdoors authorized counsel to information you in reviewing firm
insurance policies and practices to remain in compliance with altering state marijuana
legal guidelines.

The legal guidelines governing staff change quick. Are
you updated? Should you’d wish to be taught extra, obtain our free
e-book: Employment legislation: Are you placing what you are promoting in danger.