In the recent November elections voters in Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. What does that mean for company drug policies? Should I panic?
Zero-tolerance drug policies should still be fine. So should drug testing programs. The courts have so far upheld employers’ rights to enforce drug-free workplaces, even if an employee is legally taking medical marijuana. “Go ahead and enforce your zero-tolerance drug policies regardless of the reason for marijuana use, whether medical or recreational, without regard to the new state laws,” says Richard Meneghello, a partner at Fisher & Phillips.
However, employers in Arizona, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine should be careful. These states all have laws that require employers to accommodate medical marijuana, but though federal law may preempt those measures, none has yet faced a court test. Unless you want your company to be the test case, tread cautiously.