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Legal Marijuana and Its New Impact on Employment

A common question that arose once California legalized recreational marijuana is, “How does that impact drug testing policies?” The change in policy has caused a number of companies to take a look at their own drug policies in regard to employee status, while other companies are still willing to drug test their employees for a drug that is now legal in the Golden State.

The fact that federal law does not agree with state law creates quite a few areas of conflict. For example, government contractors, regardless of where they are located, have to adhere to federal drug laws. This means that even if the person has a medicinal marijuana card in a state that it is also legal that they cannot use marijuana. The following are areas you might not have considered in regard to legal marijuana impacting your job security.

Your Company Might Have Their Hands Tied

Most people want to point their fingers at their employer for their drug policy when it is much more complicated than that. The company that provides the company’s commercial insurance might have rules when it comes to drug usage.

If a company finds out that a claim has been filed and there is known drug usage then the company can drop coverage. On the other hand this could lead to an increase in premiums, which could result in layoffs, depending on the size of the company. If you work at a corporation that works across the country then there is a blanket drug policy. This keeps any employee from filing a wrongful termination suit for a failed drug test for marijuana while their counterpart in California has tested positive the last 5 times.

You Have Little To No Protection

The truth is that there are not many protections for those who are fired due to a failed drug test even in states where it is legal. This has to do with a private company being able to establish rules of their own.

There are certain companies that will ask you questions about your marijuana consumption before you are required to take a drug test. At some companies they will allow a new hire to work a few weeks before a drug test in order for them to have a clean test. For those people thinking about suing their employer after getting fired, it becomes an uphill battle. Many of the employee protection laws and legislations have not been adapted to include marijuana of any kind.

What Will Happen In The Future

Depending on the way the legislation for medical and recreational marijuana goes over the next decade things could change immensely. With more states legalizing recreational marijuana, larger corporations could be due to change their drug testing rules. Those companies that will have offices only in states that have legalized it can do this without fear of somebody failing in a state where it is illegal.

With CBD oil becoming more popular, and having no psychoactive impact, it could become more tolerated to medicate in the office. Of course, smoking marijuana on the job is almost certainly a determent to any job that is paying you for your time and effort. If marijuana becomes federally legal this could open the flood gates as companies of all sizes are open to change their policies, as needed.

Marijuana and employers will continue to try to find a happy medium as the plant can becomes more of a recreational pleasure, in addition to its medicinal uses. What are some experiences you have had with employers and legal marijuana?

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