Do a simple internet search of “marijuana and the workplace” and you’ll likely find differing advice for each given year and state. Staying up to date on the latest news regarding marijuana in the workplace is a daunting task for any employer. As if the amount of information isn’t overwhelming enough, many sites offer conflicting information, making the task even more discouraging. What’s an employer to do when a once very black and white issue now seems so gray?
What to Do: Marijuana & Drug Testing
1. Check with your legal counsel. To ensure correct application of laws surrounding marijuana in the workplace, always consult with your legal counsel. As each state is different, your legal counsel will be able to give you the most relevant and up to date information.
2. Develop clear and consistent policies regarding drug use. Employees should know the company’s exact stance on the use of marijuana and there shouldn’t be any room for interpretation. In addition, policies regarding marijuana use should be easily accessible and clearly communicated to each employee.
3. Apply policies consistently to all employees. Just as policies should be clearly developed, implemented and communicated to employees, employers should also ensure they are consistently applied to each employee. The CEO and the custodian should abide by the same rules, go through the same drug testing routine and suffer the same consequences if violated.
4. Marijuana is still listed as an illegal drug according to the Federal Government. Numerous states have passed laws for the medical and recreational use of marijuana, but at the end of the day, the federal government still classifies the marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. Be sure to know which laws apply to your state.
5. Ensure a safe working environment for all employees. Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment and employees expect to be given such. The essential goal of any drug testing policy should be to provide employees with a safe and productive working environment.
It’s not too late to review your company’s drug testing policy and how it relates to the legalization of marijuana. Certainly, being proactive instead of reactive can clear up confusion not only for yourself, but for your employees as well should a situation arise.
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