Medical marijuana is now legal, on some level, in half the states in the USA. This puts many employers in a legal gray area. Some companies are embracing the practice, while others are unsure or not wanting to accommodate the risk.
Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Regardless of state legalization, federal law says that marijuana cannot be “legally prescribed” or used. There are some states that do allow employers to prohibit employee use of medical marijuana for safety or other reasons, allowing employers to maintain a zero-tolerance, drug-free policy.
This difference between local, state, and federal law can cause headaches for employers. Some courts have held that a person’s right to medical marijuana for certain conditions doesn’t extend to their employment.
If your employee tests positive for marijuana, but has a prescription, what do you do? Here are three tips to help you tackle that question:
Create a Policy Before It Happens
By being proactive and implementing a policy before you ever have an issue with an employee and medical marijuana, you stay ahead of the game. Work with a local employment law firm, human resources professionals, and a trusted drug screening provider to develop a plan. Make your employees aware of your stance. If you are continuing a no-tolerance policy, or plan to have no issue with your employees using medical marijuana, making them aware can save a lot of stress for everyone!
Know Your State Laws
You should continue to abide by the current drug testing laws for your state, and make sure your testing practice is non-discriminatory. Test all applicants for the same job similarly and make sure the tests are performed by a certified laboratory. Keep your applicant aware that testing will be part of the screening process. Be aware of new legislation, like the Pennsylvania law that prohibits employers from discriminating against medical marijuana-using employees.
Work With a Trusted Screening Partner
Regardless of your stance, drug screening is still a vital part of protecting your business. Even in states with highly permissive medical marijuana laws, protecting your business from liability is incredibly important! ClearStar’s drug screening services integrate with a number of human resources platforms, and provide timely, comprehensive testing for employers.
Ready to get started? Make us your first step towards developing your company policy. Contact ClearStar today!