Marijuana and the workplace: Employers face challenges with the legalization of recreational pot; Rose Law Group cannabis attorney Jonathan Udell provides insight

By Mara Knaub | Yuma Sun

With the legalization of recreational marijuana, employers are facing new challenges. With a confusing lack of standards regarding how employers should manage private use of marijuana by employees, they wonder how they should handle the new development and how it might impact their policies and practices. Can employers still prohibit marijuana use in the workplace? Should they remove tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main active ingredient of cannabis from the drug screen? Should they increase the THC limit?

Some workplace policies might clearly state “no smoking marijuana in the workplace,” but marijuana comes in so many forms, including edible products, such as marijuana-infused energy drink products, baked goods and candies.

Other issues complicate the dilemma for employers. For example, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and some types of businesses and organizations either rely on federal funding and/or must follow federal regulations due to the nature of the work.

It’s a touchy subject. The Yuma Sun reached out to numerous businesses and organizations to find if they’ve been impacted and how they’re dealing with it, but the great majority declined to comment.

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“With the exception of medical marijuana patients, businesses in Arizona remain free to terminate—or refuse to hire—employees based on their consumption of marijuana. However, the growing legalization movement reflects a widespread recognition that many successful people consume cannabis. Thus, Amazon and other large employers are moving away from marijuana testing, while Nevada and some cities have banned pre-employment marijuana tests. In the wake of this development, employers should consider whether their desire for an entirely marijuana-free workforce outweighs the effect this policy has on recruiting and retaining employees.”
Jonathan Udell, Rose Law Group cannabis attorney

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