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Podcast: What Marijuana Legalization Laws Mean for Drug Testing

Hosted by: David Weisenfeld

This podcast examines the rapid growth of marijuana state legalization laws and what they mean for employer drug-testing programs in a wide-ranging conversation with Jackson Lewis employment attorney Kathryn Russo.

Russo draws a distinction between recreational marijuana laws and the more prevalent medical marijuana measures. She calls medical marijuana "a little more complex" because it deals with covered individuals with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Meanwhile, she likens recreational marijuana to alcohol in saying, "No employer in any state has to allow an employee to bring marijuana to work, to use marijuana at work or to be under the influence at work."

What Marijuana Legalization Laws Mean for Drug Testing

June 7, 2017

The New York employment attorney also discusses the two biggest questions she receives from employers in states where some form of marijuana use is legal:

  • What should I do if someone says I only use marijuana off-duty?
  • Should I test for marijuana at all?

While noting that most employers like uniformity, Russo explains that the answers are really state-specific. However, she says the answers also may depend on the industry. For instance, marijuana testing might still be important for jobs in healthcare or construction, but she notes that white-collar employers are starting to scale back their testing programs as far as marijuana is concerned.

Other topics covered involve a Rhode Island court ruling, which marked the first employment discrimination case challenging a testing program that an employer lost, as well the use of hair testing.

Additional Resources

Drug and Alcohol Testing

How to Discipline Misconduct Related to Marijuana Use

How to Conduct a Drug Test of Job Applicants