With news of marijuana being legalized across the country, it’s natural for employers to ask themselves: Is drug testing still necessary in this new environment? In today’s post, we provide some answers and a couple of basic guidelines.
Is Drug Testing Still Necessary Now That Marijuana Is Legal in Many States?
As is often the case when laws come into play, the answer is “it depends.” For example, even if you live in a state where marijuana use is legal, when it comes to some federally-regulated positions (such as with the U.S. Department of Transportation), workers are still routinely tested for marijuana use.
Before making any testing decision it is imperative to check with an attorney because the laws impacting marijuana testing vary widely from state to state and can change relatively fast, so what makes sense today may not be a good idea within a couple of months.
For example, even if California recently signed a bill into law that will prohibit employers from penalizing workers for using marijuana outside of work, employers will still be able to maintain a drug-free workplace. Further, the law (which will go into effect in 2024) does not include language that prohibits drug screening to take place during pre-employment.
Other Aspects To Note
You should also keep in mind that even if the headlines may talk about “marijuana legalization,” in most cases this refers to medical use.
In general, employers are still allowed to build policies around the idea of letting employees know that while they may have the right to use marijuana recreationally, they can’t use marijuana on the job.
So, in conclusion, drug testing remains an important tool to ensure that companies make the right hiring decisions. However, you must be very careful when implementing a drug testing program.
Ideally, companies should work hand in hand with attorneys and a background screening partner to ensure that their drug testing program is both legally compliant and technically feasible.
DISCLAIMER: The material on this website is for general information only and is not to be construed as legal advice or opinion.
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