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DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with what is happening at OSHA as well as other workplace safety news. Includes a report on the significant OSHA citations announced the previous week. Plus we scan national and local (and world) publications for workplace safety news. This is your source for the latest safety news.


Thursday, May 09, 2013

Can Someone With A Medical Marijuana Card Be Fired For Testing Positive?

Photo by Hendrike

Medical Marijuana and the Workplace

With several additional states having passed medical marijuana laws that allow marijuana use for medical reasons, a major question is: Can you fire someone who tests positive for marijuana, and who has a medical marijuana card?

Massachusetts is now implementing their medical marijuana law and the Boston Globe takes a look at this question.

Read the Boston Globe Article here.

The advice is varied. Some say they are dropping testing for marijuana altogether. Others say they must still conform to federal law which makes marijuana use illegal. An NBC news story reports:

According to a 2006 report from the Society for Human Resource Management:

  • 84 percent of employers do pre-employment drug screening.
  • 73 percent do reasonable-suspicion testing.
  • 58 percent do post-accident screening.
  • 39 percent do random testing.
The NBC story is about a Wal-Mart employee, with a medical marijuana card, who was fired for testing positive for marijuana use.  Read the NBC story here.

While there are many stories about people who claim to be helped by the medical use of marijuana, the other side of the story is that it is reported that tens of thousands of people who do not have a medical need for marijuana are able to get medical marijuana cards. Plus, being under the influence of marijuana at work can be a safety concern.

Is there a real medical benefit for marijuana?  The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports there is a benefit, but it may be outweighed by the negative effects. Read the NIDA report here.

However, without regard to benefits, side-effects, and misuse of medical marijuana cards, employers still need to deal with the reality that medical marijuana use has been approved in some states - but federally marijuana is still an illegal drug. Is this a problem? Can you fire someone who tests positive for marijuana use? That depends on the state you are in.  For an excellent overview of the legal situation I recommend the following article in Corporate Counsel:

When Employment Law Meets Legalized Marijuana


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posted by Steve Hudgik
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