Marijuana was once considered to be in the same league as heroin, as a far as employers were concerned. Now more than ever companies that drug test employees and new-hires are being forced to let a positive for marijuana slide. Part of this is due to a cultural change that has made marijuana more socially acceptable- at least to some?
Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, told PJM it is time for employers to trash their zero-tolerance marijuana policies that are a byproduct of the “Just Say No” era “when drug policy was largely based on rhetoric and stigmatization.”
Armentano could see that happen sooner rather than later, no matter what Attorney General Jeff Sessions thinks about some or all of the 50 states legalizing marijuana.
“I’ve never felt that we should legalize marijuana,” Sessions said in September. “It doesn’t strike me that the country would be better if it’s being sold on every street corner. We do know that legalization results in greater use.”
However, Colorado bosses dialed back testing for marijuana use before hiring people or while employees are working. Legislation could be introduced next year to protect medicinal marijuana patients from being fired in Hawaii, and employers in states like Michigan are wondering what they’ll do if voters legalized pot smoking in November 2018.
Other employers are taking a hard line against marijuana use. And they are winning in court. Even if it is prescribed by a doctor, testing positive for marijuana use can still get an employee fired in Hawaii.
“A state law decriminalizing marijuana use does not create an affirmative requirement for employers to accommodate medical marijuana use,” wrote state District Court Judge Helen Gillmor in a lawsuit brought by an employee fired after testing positive for cannabis. The worker cited the ADA in claiming discrimination and retaliation.
Carl Bergquist, executive director of Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, chairs a patients’ rights subcommittee that intends to offer a proposal to the Hawaii Legislature next year that would prevent people from getting fired if they using pot for pain relief or in any way prescribed by a physician. (via: PJ Media)
In states where it recreational use has become legal some businesses complain that they do not have enough qualified applicant if they reject employees who use cannabis. Would you care if your employee used recreational marijuana in their off time?