Nowadays, with 14 US states that have legalized medical marijuana, there are perhaps hundreds of thousands of employers, who wonder about the ways to keep the work site drug free and meantime provide the adequate environment for workers, who are taken through marijuana treatment. In reality, the general marijuana topic is a mess. The federal authorities don’t want to move from their ‘all marijuana is illegal’ position and marijuana-legal states have unbelievably different approaches to the issue. Thus, there has never been a better time for reviewing drug policy of your company.
Here are some guidelines to the major white spots:
For enterprises that work for the government, like those with federal contracts, the directing document should be Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, which bans the utilization of marijuana in job sites that participate in federal contracts.
The DOT – Department of Transportation – as well bans the use of marijuana for employees that are in so-called ‘safety-sensitive’ positions, such as bus drivers, subway operators, truck drivers, armed transit security, ship captains, and pilots. This ban covers all states, involving the states that have legalized medical marijuana. Thus, even if you have a marijuana card, but you have to fly a 757, you have to make sure that your medical marijuana’s effect has passed, when you board your pilot seat.
Some attorneys advise to treat marijuana treatment as if it was a use of any other prescription drug, and the worker could do it legally and safely. They claim that such attitude can save employers both money and time in a situation that leads medical marijuana to the point of getting more and more accepted by society and becoming legalized in greater number of states during the next few years.
Different States – Different Regulations
First of all, in the legalized states, every patient that has a marijuana card is protected from detainment as long as they have dealt with all the needed documentation and has the proof of a doctor’s approval for their marijuana treatment. But this is just the beginning.
If you live and work in Oregon or California and you are tested positive for marijuana at your workplace, you can get fired. You can even be fired if you use medical marijuana with the required approval, and a prescription from your physician, who takes you through your marijuana treatment.
Just recall a precedent back in 2008 – the Ross vs. RagingWire case. Back then, the Supreme Court of California settled that the employer drug test is legal and that it isn’t discriminative to fire a worker for marijuana use, even when it’s not used in the job site. Oregon had the Emerald Steel Fabricators, Inc. vs. Bureau of Labor and Industries, the state’s Supreme Court settled that Oregon employers have to not support the workers’ medical marijuana use, since the federal law takes priority over state laws.
Patients that undergo marijuana treatment in Vermont, will be most probably arrested if found using or under the influence of medical marijuana in their workplaces. The same is true about New Mexico patients.
In certain states, such as Rhode Island and Maine, you won’t be discriminated or fined for your employment of medical marijuana, if you have a medical marijuana card.
In the end, simply don’t forget to review the regulations and laws of your state thoroughly, prior to using medical marijuana either at home or in the job site.