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Will the Growing Acceptance of Cannabis Send Drug-Screening Policies Up in Smoke?

The puns are endless, and so are the legislative efforts to legalize various forms of marijuana. Because of the wave of marijuana legalization that has swept the country over the last few years, there has never been a better time for organizations to evaluate their drug-screening policies and their practices for addressing employees who use marijuana. In 2019 alone, Illinois legalized adult use (recreational) marijuana, Hawaii and New York decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, Nevada and New York City passed laws prohibiting pre-employment drug screening for marijuana, and New Jersey amended its medical marijuana law to provide broad protections to registered medical cannabis users (while the New Jersey Supreme Court has taken up a case to decide whether New Jersey employers must accommodate lawful medical marijuana use). We expect this legalization trend to lead to increased use of marijuana, and thus more positive drug tests. Employers should take the time now to create a company-wide strategy to handle increased use by employees and be prepared to accommodate any medical use. We advise employers to review current drug-screening policies, prepare protocols to respond to positive drug tests, and train managers and human resources staff to identify possible impairment and to appropriately implement the new protocols.

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About this Author

Nathaniel M. Glasser, Epstein Becker, Labor, Employment Attorney, Publishing

NATHANIEL M. GLASSER is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the Washington, DC, office of Epstein Becker Green. His practice focuses on the representation of leading companies and firms, including publishing and media companies, financial services institutions, and law firms, in all areas of labor and employment relations.

Mr. Glasser’s experience includes:

  • Defending clients in employment litigation, from single-plaintiff to class action disputes,...