What Do I Do About Marijuana And My Employees In This Day And Age?

hands holding a marijuana pipe and lighter

As laws and social taboos shift, loosen, and change, it can be difficult to keep your company’s drug policies strict and up to date.

Right now marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act at the federal level, yet medical marijuana is legal at the state level in over half of the country. Then on top of that still, recreational marijuana is starting to legalize state-by-state, plus trendy CBD shops are popping up on every corner.

So how on Earth are you supposed to keep your workplace drug-free—without potentially discriminating against employees with proper prescriptions—when you’ve got all these regulations to navigate?

Unfortunately, there’s not one straightforward answer since it depends on your type of business, individual tolerance risk, and the need you feel to be compliant with federal law (regardless of what state you’re in). The closest concrete answers we can give you are:

Consider a Zero-Tolerance Policy

One best practice for maintaining a drug-free workplace is to enforce a zero-tolerance policy—meaning absolutely NO recreational marijuana (even where legal), but also NO medical marijuana (even when prescribed), and NO CBD products.

For example, several highly-regulated industries like the U.S. Department of Transportation rely on such policies to keep their workplaces safe. In these environments, Medical Review Officers—the impartial third parties that evaluate the results of employee drug tests—are forbidden from verifying a drug test as negative even when a physician has recommended that an employee use medical marijuana.

But while many companies and organizations require pre-employment drug screenings, deterring employee drug use long-term and enforcing your zero-tolerance protocol are a different challenge all together. Which is why you likely need to frequently drug test your staff at unpredictable intervals.

Implement a Random Drug Testing Policy

Drug use can affect your employees’ customer service, work quality, efficiency, and safety. In addition to pre-employment drug screenings, conducting random drug-testing throughout the year can ensure your employees aren’t engaging in any marijuana use at any time.

As you roll out your random drug testing process, you should also establish probation and termination policies for any employees who do not pass their screenings. Keep the tests truly random—yet frequent enough that your employees know to expect a test on any given day—and  strictly enforce your disciplinary actions when needed; follow through on each of these will be critical in establishing and reenforcing your drug-free environment.

Random testing laws vary from state-to-state, so your company policy will need to take local legislation into account and be updated as regulations change. Though while designing the testing schedule and renewing your policy may seem daunting on the surface, you don’t have to do it alone. Find a trusted partner that specializes in these tasks so you can stay focused on all the other things on your plate.

Partner with a Policy Expert to Stay Compliant

Again, new drug testing regulations are released every year. Some affect you, some don’t. Regardless, you’re required to know which ones do and how.

Once of the first steps in establishing a drug-free culture in your workplace should be a review of your current policies and how they stack up against the most recent state and federal regulations surrounding marijuana. Once you’re able to confirm whether or not you are in compliance, you’ll need to put a process in place to help make sure you stay compliant.

Don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to seemingly constant drug policy changes? Partner with an expert who can create (and maintain) a customized policy that reflects the specific and unique needs of your workplace as marijuana laws change.

That’s where we come in.

ARCpoint’s experts can review your current drug testing policies and update them if needed, help you implement and manage a random drug testing program, conduct drug screenings, and even train your supervisors to recognize the specific, observable behaviors of an impaired employee. Give us a call at 864.271.3210, or contact us online to start creating a safer work environment today.

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