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October 28 2013

Medical Marijuana and the Drug Free Workplace

An increasing number of states have passed varying laws regarding marijuana legalization and the use of medical marijuana. At the same time, the federal government still maintains that marijuana use is illegal. Businesses that operate under federal contracts or fall under the Department of Transportation still must comply with drug testing regulations, regardless of state laws. Medical marijuana use is of special importance to employers, especially those who have a drug testing program in place. Some state laws do not mention their effect on the workplace, while others such as Arizona, Delaware, Maine and Michigan include provisions that address marijuana and the workplace. In states that allow medicinal marijuana, employers may still lawfully prohibit employees from using marijuana during work hours. Drug testing potential employees and those who are already employed with your company is very important, and although not a requirement under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 for most industries, it is recommended, and can be an integral part of your background check program. As the courts continue to update laws on medical marijuana, HR departments need to obtain guidance from local attorneys that specialize in labor laws to create drug policies that protect both their business interests and employees.