There are many industries most impacted by substance abuse; however, states are progressively legalizing the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, and marijuana use is now more socially acceptable than ever.
It has become difficult to develop drug testing rules incorporating marijuana because so many states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana use (either for recreational purposes, medicinal purposes, or both). So what’s the big issue if so many states have legalized marijuana?
When it comes to conducting a marijuana drug test, this flawed logic frequently causes employers to commit the following five serious errors. Here are 5 mistakes employers make discussed in turn below.
Not Complying With State Law
A rising number of states have taken their own initiatives to loosen restrictions on workers using marijuana for recreational or medical purposes while off the clock. Employers must be aware of the relevant state laws, including the court rulings that interpret those laws, if they need to test employees for marijuana usage or want to continue doing so.
According to Kathryn Russo, an attorney with Jackson Lewis in Melville, New York, keeping up with these rules is difficult for employers because so much of it is always changing, so if your business operates in multiple states, you’ll need to learn about the marijuana regulations in each of them and alter your drug testing procedures accordingly.
Employers should be aware that laws and court rulings may provide distinct workplace safeguards, even in states where marijuana usage is allowed.
Other state rules clearly declare that employers are not required to permit any marijuana use, even when it is used off-duty. Some state statutes specifically give workplace protections, notably for registered medical marijuana patients.
States also differ regarding the procedures that employers must follow before they can take disciplinary or dismissal action against a worker who tests positive for marijuana.
Currently, medical usage of marijuana is permitted in 33 states, while recreational use is permitted in 11 states, as well as Washington, D.C.
Not Performing The Right Tests
Despite the complex legal situation around marijuana, employers are never required to put up with using or intoxication on the job. Therefore, reasonable suspicion tests are still justified because employees cannot report to work while intoxicated.
Because marijuana remains in a person’s body long after usage, post-accident tests can provide some challenges. A person could go on vacation to Canada (where recreational use is allowed), smoke marijuana or consume an edible, return to work, get tested at random or as a result of an accident, and test positive despite never being intoxicated at work.
David Morrison, an attorney with Goldberg Kohn in Chicago, recommends training managers and supervisors on properly identifying whether someone is working under the influence if businesses just want to test for impairment. The following observations may warrant testing based on reasonable suspicion:
- Strong smells
- Stumbling, twitching, or movements that are questionable
- Watery or dilated eyes
- Blank, puzzled, or flushed facial expressions
- Inability to speak or slurred speech
- Disputed, agitated, or sluggish demeanor
- Falling asleep, becoming unconscious, or being otherwise unresponsive
For performance problems and egregious behavior, reasonable suspicion may be sufficient justification for suspension or termination without needing a subsequent positive drug test.
Not Understanding How To Interpret Results
Due to the complexity of marijuana testing, it’s crucial to engage with a screening service with extensive knowledge of drug testing procedures and applicable legal requirements.
Customizable drug testing programs give you prompt, precise findings that help you make hiring decisions and are useful for managing and offering advice to your current employees. Companies can design specific programs to meet your business’s needs, whether you need assistance with pre-employment drug testing, random drug testing, or both.
Failing To Understand The Company’s Obligations As An Employer
The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 imposes a responsibility on employers to keep conditions or adopt reasonably required policies to protect workers on the job. Therefore, your organization could be held accountable if an employee gets hurt as a result of a coworker who has been using marijuana recreationally while at work while impaired.
Consider another option: the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 may be required of federal grant recipients and contractors. (Keep in mind that marijuana remains illegal on a federal level.) What happens afterward if your company hires federal employees?
While it may be simple to believe that your company is operating legally and “by the book,” compliance may not be guaranteed unless you deal with a screening company with employment law experience.
Failing To Educate The Workforce About Cannabidiol (CBD)
Some background on CBD:
- The hemp or marijuana plant is used to make CBD oil.
- The procedure used to manufacture the oil “claims” to eliminate THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana that gives users a high.
- CBD is used by people as a medicine to treat ailments including anxiety and arthritis pain (to name just a few).
- The FDA has only approved one CBD-based drug thus far (for epilepsy).
- Using CBD has been known to produce THC-positive effects.
The lack of integrity in the manufacturing process to remove the THC from the product is one of the main problems with CBD. Many producers will claim that they have eliminated THC from their goods. These claims, however, cannot be confirmed or guaranteed because there are no manufacturing standards. Therefore, consumers have no means of knowing which items still contain THC.
The best thing businesses can do is inform staff members about the risks of consuming CBD. Encourage any staff members who require CBD to seek out the best sources of the substance with the help of their doctor or other healthcare professional to guarantee they are receiving a high-quality product that is free of THC.
Studies have shown that marijuana use can have negative consequences on the workplace, such as decreased productivity, decreased safety, and decreased morale. It is naive to decline to test for marijuana because it might seem “easier” to do so.
Again, the best thing you can do this year is to collaborate with a reliable partner in drug testing to assist you in creating an extensive compliance policy that handles marijuana use.
More Read On: Spero Magazine