Medical Marijuana and Employee Drug Testing
With the recent additions to the medical marijuana bill last month, more concerns and questions have popped up across New Jersey, especially in the workplace. The idea that you can use or smoke marijuana just because of your doctor’s approval doesn’t mean you can do it anytime or anywhere, even at work.
Even though multiple states use marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes, the law is quite tricky. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits covered employers from discriminating against their employees because of their disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities so that they can perform the essential functions of their job.
Be that as it may, Section 12114(a) of the ADA, states that “a qualified individual with a disability shall not include any employee or applicant who is currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs.” This is based on a list of drugs that are considered illegal by the Controlled Substances Act. And, guess which drug is still considered illegal? Marijuana regardless of its medical use.
Because the CSA still prohibits marijuana use, as its prohibited Schedule I status indicates, employers are not required to accommodate the use of medical marijuana. In the Garden State, you are not allowed to use or be impaired because of marijuana use in the workplace. After work, it’s totally up to the person – right?
Well, that depends too. It’s based on all those facts we told you about a little bit earlier. Employers throughout the state are allowed to impose a drug testing policy that fits their needs.
Some workplaces only require pre-employment drug tests, and then there are other workplaces that test their employees based on the reasonable suspicion of marijuana use. Some workplaces can even impose scheduled or random drug tests for employees.
If you are a medical marijuana user, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney or your workplace’s human resources department to learn about what protections you might or might not have.
What You Need to Know About Drug Tests
Have you used medical marijuana in the last two months? Then you are at risk for failing a drug test. There are various types of tests employers can use to detect marijuana in your system, which includes urine, blood, and hair tests. Each effective in their own manner.
The most common drug test is urine testing. This type of testing can detect the compounds left behind by medical marijuana. These compounds can last in your body for days or weeks, depending on the last time you used the drug. According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), urine drug testing can detect medical marijuana:
- 1-5 days in occasional user
- 1-3 weeks in regular users
- 4-6 weeks in multiple daily users
Ultimately, workplaces share different views than the government does. It comes down to how your employer views medical marijuana and how their policies treat it.
Contact Carbone Today
For more information about medical marijuana in New Jersey, visit the state’s Health Department to learn more. If you ever run into an issue involving the state’s laws and regulations governing medical marijuana use, you are going to need the help of an experienced attorney.
Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today. We will evaluate your case for free to see if we can bring you justice.