How Does Medical Marijuana Affect Florida Drug Testing Laws?

While marijuana is still technically considered illegal under federal law, more than half of the states in America have legalized its use in one form or another. Changing regulations have left many employers wondering whether they need to adjust their drug-free workplace policies, and there’s considerable confusion surrounding how medical marijuana, in particular, may affect drug testing laws.
For businesses and organizations in Florida, recent shifts in state drug laws have caused considerable concern. However, the good news is that despite changes in state legislation, employers still possess the legal right to maintain a drug-free workplace.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Florida?

Yes. Florida voters approved a 2014 bill that legalized the medicinal use of marijuana, with later amendments serving to clarify regulations. Today, patients with qualifying conditions such as PTSD, epilepsy, cancer, and glaucoma are permitted to use cannabis, provided they adhere to possession limits and other regulations. Currently, the recreational use of cannabis is still considered illegal in Florida.

Does Legalized Medical Marijuana Affect Employer Drug Testing?

Understandably, many Florida businesses are worried that legalized medical marijuana may limit their ability to enforce workplace drug testing. The good news is that there have been no changes made to current Florida drug testing laws. While some medical marijuana states have implemented certain protections for medical marijuana patients in regards to workplace drug testing, Florida is not one of them.
This means that as an employer, you are still permitted to enforce a drug-free workplace policy, including workplace drug testing as you see fit (e.g. post-incident, pre-employment, random, etc.).

Is Medical Marijuana a “Reasonable Accommodation” Under the ADA?

Employers familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may be aware that they are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with debilitating medical conditions. However, Florida law does not include medical marijuana as a qualifying accommodation, therefore employers are not required to make an exception in their drug-free workplace.

Tips for Maintaining a Drug-Free Workplace

Employee drug and alcohol use is one of the most significant factors in workplace accidents, decreased job performance, conflict, and other common issues. While medical marijuana use is far different than serious substance abuse or illicit drug use, taking a proactive approach to maintaining a drug-free workplace is a smart idea across the board.
Here are a few tips for establishing your company as a drug-free workplace:

  • Create a clear drug and alcohol use policy for all employees, including a detailed procedure for violations or incidents.
  • Implement regular drug and alcohol testing as a condition of employment, particularly in pre-employment and after an incident or workplace accident.
  • Ensure that all managers are trained to recognize the signs of intoxication.

ARCpoint Labs of Fort Myers: Your Florida Drug Testing Provider

While there are many changes being made to how and when cannabis can be legally used, as an employer, you still have the right to protect your company. Creating and implementing an effective drug-free workplace policy is key, and the state of Florida’s drug testing laws preserve employers’ rights to request employee drug testing as appropriate.
ARCpoint Labs of Fort Myers not only provides a wide range of professional lab solutions tailored for the workplace, but can also offer support in the development of policies and procedures as well as training for your management and human resources teams. Together, we can take a proactive approach to ensure a safe and productive drug-free workplace.
For more information about how medical marijuana may affect your employer drug testing policies, contact ARCpoint Labs of Fort Myers to learn more.
Image Credit: Ferencik