How Workplace Drug Testing Has Changed with Legal Cannabis


Most employers prohibit the use of illegal drugs while on-the-job for a host of obvious reasons. To ensure that employees are not using illegal drugs prior to being hired, and/or to investigate instances of suspected drug use, employers often conduct drug tests. In the past, cannabis was an illegal drug in every state, making it much easier for employers to test employees and enforce their rules. However, the legalization of cannabis in states all across the country has made this issue much more complicated.

How State Law Applies

Unfortunately, all states have different laws with regard to cannabis. For example, while some states have legalized cannabis for medical purposes only, others have legalized it for recreational purposes as well. In addition, the laws with regard to drug testing in the workplace also vary. While some states require employers to make allowances for employees who require medical cannabis, other states have no such requirements.

Dealing with Cannabis in the Workplace

As an employer, you need to take great care when dealing with cannabis in the workplace. To prevent drug use by employees while also minimizing liability:

1. Become familiar with state laws.

The first thing you should do to protect yourself from liability is to learn about your state’s laws with regard to cannabis use in general, as well as cannabis use by employees.

2. Establish a clear policy for your company.

Develop a clear drug use and testing policy for your company that is in full compliance with your state’s legal requirements. Be sure this policy includes details about how drug testing will be carried out, as well as specific penalties for failure. Take the time to inform current employees of your policy, and make the policy a key part of your onboarding process for new employees.

3. Be consistent.

When administering drug tests, imposing penalties for failure and implementing all other parts of your policy, be consistent in order to avoid any allegations of discrimination, favoritism or unfair treatment.

4. Protect your company with insurance.

Even with clear policies and flawless implementation, your company is always vulnerable to claims from employees or other parties. Protect your company from these claims by maintaining an appropriate management liability insurance policy.

About Axis Insurance

At Axis Insurance Services, we aim to help our customers identify their exposures and protect themselves. Founded in 1999, we offer insurance programs to a wide variety of professionals and industries including attorneys, real estate, healthcare, architects, and more, and also have a wholesale division. We pride ourselves on offering flexible insurance coverage tailored specifically to each customer’s needs. To learn more about our solutions, contact us at (201) 847-9175 to speak with one of our professionals.

management liability insurance, Legal Cannabis, Cannabis in the Workplace, Drug Testing

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