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HR Professionals everywhere are having to figure out how to navigate through their drug testing policies and procedures while Cannabis laws continuously evolve. The fact is that Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. State laws have changed rapidly, and some states even limit an employer’s ability to fire an employee for failing a drug test. Currently, 33 states allow Marijuana for medicinal purposes, and 2 states have passed laws on pre-employment marijuana testing. In some states, it is illegal to bar potential employees based solely on a positive cannabis test if the individual is eligible for medical marijuana. Regardless of state law, federal rules require substance testing, including for marijuana, of certain employees such as truck drivers. Companies with federal contracts and grants, as well as federal agencies, must have a drug use policy that’s enforced. Drug testing policies will eventually move from detection of THC to measuring performance impairment. There are a few measures that companies can take to ensure compliance while still enforcing an acceptable drug testing policy and good safety culture:


  • Don’t tolerate marijuana use on the job, just as you wouldn’t tolerate alcohol use.
  • Train managers to spot signs of impairment.
  • Think carefully about the type of test your company uses and stay on top of developments in the technology of testing.
  • Talk to a lawyer about relevant state laws before setting policies and testing rules.
  • For companies operating in different states, know that testing policies may need to vary by location.
  • Educate employees about the company marijuana-use policy and the repercussions for failed tests, including random, post-accident or reasonable suspicion tests, and make sure all employees have a signed receipt of this policy in their employee files.

The whirlwind of change with regards to Marijuana and workplace has left many employers perplexed on how to protect their businesses, while staying competitive in a global economy.

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