Maintaining a Drug Free Workplace as Marijuana Laws Change

Changing marijuana laws aren’t necessarily making weed more welcome in the workplace. As marijuana legalization laws continue to change, employers are presented with challenges when it comes to drug free workplace testing. Companies that wish to maintain drug-free workplaces face a confusing patchwork of state and federal laws. These changing marijuana laws create a gray area in some states, whether employers can discipline workers for marijuana use. As a business owner, it’s important to keep your employees and clients safe, but how do you handle laws that contradict one another?

Changing Marijuana Laws Causing Gray Areas for Employers

In California, where medical marijuana is already legal, voters recently approved recreational marijuana on Election Day. Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada passed similar measures, while Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota legalized or expanded medical marijuana measures. These new laws make pot legal, in some form, in more than half the country—29 states. Meanwhile, it remains illegal under federal law. One major concern for employers is that the active ingredient in marijuana stays in a worker’s body for several days. This makes it difficult to tell whether employees used the drug off the job or if they are currently under the influence.

Maintaining Drug Free Workplace Policies

Even in places where the law is on the side of employers who uphold drug free workplace policies, companies are still exposed to lawsuits. For instance, California’s Supreme Court affirms employers’ rights to discriminate against job candidates who don’t pass drug tests, even those who use physician-prescribed marijuana to treat disabilities. However, employers could face disability discrimination lawsuits among others if they exercise that right.

Drug testing is one of the most effective ways to protect workers, clients, and customers from harm, but as states across the country relax their drug laws, finding and keeping employees could become a concern for many employers.

As laws continue to change, the best thing employers can do is review their current policies. Be sure to make them clear to all employees, especially if any changes occur. Employers must keep a constant watch on the legal landscape as more states address the question of marijuana legalization. How is your company adapting to new laws for your business’ state of operation? In an industry full of risks, how are you maintaining a safe workforce? Whatever your stance on testing, it is important to ensure your business is protected properly. To review your current coverages or for a free quote on power washing insurance, just call us at 1-800-878-3808. Our agents have worked to protect small businesses like yours for 40 years. We can get you the correct coverage to keep your business safe from almost anything.

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