Legalized Marijuana and Your Business: What You Need to Know

The rapidly changing landscape of legal marijuana use has caused confusion among employers who have a strict no-drug policy in their workforces. After all, the burden is on the employer to provide a safe workplace for the other employees as well as for clients. How are they to do this when states make medical marijuana use legal and some sates even allow its recreational use? First, employers should realize that they are not obligated to allow drug use of any type while an individual is on the clock or at your workplace. However, beyond that, they laws get cloudy. Here are some legal guidelines to help employers navigate the tricky world of marijuana in the workplace.

Drug Testing
When regards to drug testing, employers in states where marijuana is legal have an additional burden. A positive drug test by an employee is typically not enough to take corrective action. Instead, employers must document additional criteria proving that the employee used marijuana while performing their job. As more and more states legalize marijuana use, companies may move away from random drug testing and toward random impairment testing. This would involve testing designed to determine if an employee is fit to perform their job or if some level of drug impairment exists at a given time.

No Tolerance Rules
Employers who have a strict "no drug" 
policy have nothing to worry about. They still have the ability to discipline or terminate employees who are caught with marijuana on them while at work or who display obvious signs of impairment due to drug use at work. Additionally, court cases thus far have ruled on the side of employers. Judges have consistently ruled that using legal marijuana protects individuals only from legal repercussions not from employer actions.

Hiring is another tricky area. Employers who operate in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine and Rhode Island are not allowed to disqualify job applicants simply because they use marijuana for medical purposes. However, companies can and should provide applicants who disclose this information with a detailed company drug policy explaining the actions taken if they use marijuana while on the job. 

Need insurance for You, Your Family or Your Business?
We can match you to a qualified, local insurance expert!
Further Reading
You spend much time together, and share the burden of difficult decision making. But it's not your spouse - it's your business partner. Your business partner is a tremendous asset to your company. So, how do you protect your business in the event of ...
Most new business owners are concerned that everything is favorable for the success and safety of their business, which includes obtaining the protection of business insurance. However, longevity and success can cause complacency. Let's say you star...
Every company has one or more "key employees" (whether it's an outstanding manager, a superstar salesperson, or a technological whiz) whose contributions are essential to the business. If one of these key people were to die, the impact on your operat...
In any traffic accident, two entities can be held liable for damages: the at-fault driver and the vehicle owner. Insurance companies generally view the vehicle's insurance to be primarily liable with the driver as secondary. Let's assume you're...
Small business tax return mistakes can vary from simple math miscalculations to huge deduction errors. While the tax preparer you hire will have liability insurance that covers his or her part in any filing mistakes, you must take several steps to co...