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Maine Department of Labor Provides No Guidance Concerning the Impact of the State’s Recreational Marijuana Law on Workplace Drug Testing

Effective February 1, 2018, a provision in Maine’s recreational marijuana law impacts workplace drug testing. As we previously blogged here, the law prohibits employers from taking adverse employment actions for off-premises marijuana use, as of February 1, 2018. On its face, this law effectively prevents Maine employers from testing for marijuana for pre-employment purposes, and has other impacts as well.

After previous indications of clear guidance on the seeming conflict between this new provision and existing Maine drug testing statues and guidance, the Maine Department of Labor recently issued the following public comments regarding the impact of the recreational marijuana law:

In Maine, marijuana is still on the list of what can be tested.  Testing is only allowed if a company has a drug testing policy that has been approved by the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL).  The Department cannot provide legal advice and we encourage employers to consult with private legal counsel regarding the law.  Additionally, since the recreational law is overseen by the Maine Department of Agriculture and medical marijuana law is overseen by Maine Department of Health and Human Services, MDOL can approve testing based on our own law but we cannot say whether taking disciplinary action or refusing to hire someone will violate their laws, which is why the Department recommends seeking legal guidance prior to making those decisions.

Maine employers therefore must continue to make their own informed decisions concerning whether (and when) they should continue to test for marijuana, and whether they can take disciplinary actions for positive marijuana test results. Employers should review their drug testing policies, and consult with counsel, to determine what course of action to take.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2018

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About this Author

Kathryn J. Russo, Disability Lawsuits Attorney, Jackson Lewis, Alcohol Testing Lawyer
Principal

Kathryn J. Russo is a Principal in the Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She is a firm resource on the legal issues implicated in workplace drug and alcohol testing arising under federal, state and local laws.

Ms. Russo assists clients with workplace problems involving drugs and alcohol, and gives advice about compliance with all pertinent drug and alcohol testing laws. She prepares substance abuse policies to comply with all federal drug and alcohol testing regulations (including all agencies of the U.S....

631-247-0404
Matthew F. Nieman, Jackson Lewis, employment discrimination lawyer, tort contract claims attorney
Principal and Office Litigation Manager

Matthew F. Nieman is a Principal in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He also serves as the Litigation Manager for the office.

Mr. Nieman represents employers in a broad spectrum of labor and employment law matters, including discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour, whistleblower claims (including Dodd-Frank, the False Claims Act, and Sarbanes-Oxley), questions related to the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 (“USERRA”), and workplace drug-testing issues. He is actively involved in all phases of the litigation process on the full range of employment discrimination and employment-related tort and contract claims, including the representation of employers in actions before the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, and various state and local agencies.

703-483-8331