Legal use of marijuana could mean high times for urgent care centers that offer robust occupational medicine services—such as workplace drug testing—provided the operators are up on applicable state laws. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana laws, though the laws in just eight of those states (Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New York, and Minnesota) include antidiscrimination or reasonable accommodation provisions for employers. Arizona, Delaware, and Minnesota have laws that address workplace drug testing, but none of these laws require employers to permit on-duty marijuana use by employees. Recent actions in specific states include the following:
- Colorado’s Supreme Court upheld a statute that creates a zero-tolerance policy in the workplace, though marijuana is legal in the state.
- A New Jersey lawmaker filed a bill that would protect medical marijuana patients, provided they are properly registered with the state. If enacted, the bill would prohibit employers from punishing such employees or prospective employees who test positive for marijuana.
- Vermont has not legalized pot, but its Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs has already said workplace drug testing practices would have to change if use of cannabis becomes legal there. Further details will follow if cannabis is legalized.
Under current federal standards, employers can test for drug use only when hiring an employee. The only exception is commercial driver’s license holders, who can be tested randomly.