There are now 33 states and the District of Columbia that have enacted laws permitting the use of medical marijuana, and 13 of these state laws explicitly prohibit employment discrimination based on an individual’s participation in a state medical marijuana program. In addition, 10 states and the District of Columbia now have laws legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.
Not surprisingly, the proliferation of these legal marijuana laws appears to have dramatically increased marijuana use among American workers. For example, a recent analysis of more than 10 million drug test results conducted by Quest Diagnostics, one of the nation’s largest drug testing vendors, shows that test positivity hit a 14-year high, and that the number of marijuana-positive drug tests by employees and job applicants increased by a whopping 10% from just last year.
At the same time, to the extent that employers are still attempting to enforce drug-free workplace policies that include a ban on marijuana use, the challenges continue to grow, as illustrated by two recent court rulings, both dealing with medical marijuana use. In one case, a New Jersey court allowed a lawsuit brought by a medical marijuana user to proceed under the state’s antidiscrimination law, while in the other case a federal court ruled that an employer violated Arizona’s medical marijuana law when it fired a user who tested positive.
NT Lakis attorneys have prepared a guide summarizing these and some other recent relevant developments. In addition, we will be conducting a web workshop, entitled “Medical Marijuana: Navigating State Laws to Minimize Risk.” The workshop, which will be hosted exclusively for members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC), will be held at 2:00 p.m. on May 14, 2019.
Members of CWC can read more here.