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What Happens to My “No Drugs in the Workplace” Policy?

On November 8, California joined several other states in legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults. You may be wondering if you now have to allow employees to smoke joints on their breaks or for those with legally compliant random testing, refrain from disciplining employees with detectable THC levels. The answer is, NO.

Other legally available substances that can impair judgment or performance are regulated by employer policies (i.e., alcohol, prescription drugs). Marijuana use may be a little more complicated due to the relatively long time THC can remain in the system, however that is more a laboratory level issue than a “can you or can’t you” issue. More guidance is expected on that issue as law enforcement also grapples with levels of intoxication. If you conduct regular drug testing, you will want to obtain guidance from the lab concerning the level applicable to the reasons for your testing protocol (operating machinery, public conveyances, etc.).

So the simple answer is, you may continue to insist that your workplace remain drug free. However, there are good reasons to carefully review your written drug policies in light of legalization of recreational marijuana use. Some (usually older) policies define the classes of drugs based on whether they are “legal” and that is something that should definitely be avoided.

It is strongly recommended that your company have a written policy concerning the consequences of drug or alcohol use by employees. If you need help clarifying your current policy or would like it reviewed for clarity and legal compliance, call us:
(805) 225-1773

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