Medical marijuana

Hello! This is my first post, so I'm looking forward to how this works.

I got a call yesterday from a local temporary agency that we use and they said they have an applicant that asked if he had to take a drug test because he had a prescription for marijuana that he obtained from a physician in California.

As far as I know, marijuana is still illegal in the United States. Our company will not hire an individual if they test positive on a drug test. Did I miss something over the years on this subject? Are there states that will actually allow employees to work if they are under the influence of marijuana if they have a prescription?


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  • Last I heard, the controversy in California about this was still raging. This system says you are in Kansas. Is this applicant intending to work in Kansas or California? If it is Kansas, I can answer your question. Even a prescription will not make marijuana legal here. In California, it may be another matter. You should probably check the California DOL before going further if it is there.

    Good luck!

  • Thanks for your response. This applicant is looking for employment in Kansas. I didn't think a prescription would make a difference, but wanted to make sure. This guy is in for a big shock.

    Have a good weekend.
  • Just curious, why would the temp agency be calling you? To see if you are "cool" with applicants who are using medical marijuana?
  • We use their services on occassion. My guess is that they weren't sure of the answer themselves and wanted our guidance. Just for the record, we are pretty "cool", but not cool enough to allow a person to work at our facility under the influence of drugs (regardless if they have an RX for medical marijuana).

    When researching this issue on the Internet, everything I saw kept pointing to California trying to legalize medical marijuana, but I wasn't sure if this was an issue in other states. That's when I decided to address it through the forum.

    Thanks for responding.
  • I believe that around a dozen states have legalized some form of medical marijuana. I'm fairly certain that some of those states prohibit employers from terminating employees who test positive for marijuana AND have a "prescription" for marijuana. I've never actually seen this work in practice because the prescription has to have been written PRIOR to any drug screen. I do think it is an interesting quandry for those employers with drug free workplace policies and I'm not sure that there is a currently an answer under state and federal law. I'd be interested in hearing other people's experiences with this issue.
  • I don't recall this ever getting resolved through the courts, but I'm sure that's where it will eventually be decided. Federal law still prohibits the use, possession and distribution of marijuana, and the Feds have raided several medical marijuana facilities in California based upon the fact that the feds don't feel state laws supercede federal drug laws and enforcement rights. From an employment standpoint, I would stand by your drug policy and forbid use of "illegal drugs", even when someone indicates they have a presrciption issued in a state that allows prescriptions for the substance. Remember, pain killers, anti-depressants, etc, are legal with presciptions, but can cause seriouis impairment issues. Jst because the employee has a prescription for the drug doesn't mean you would allow someone to work under the influence of those substances. Treat weed the same way.
  • Mark Schickman, an editor of California Employment Law Letter, has written a column on medical marijuana in California and how the labor unions have begun to organize workers in that industry. Very interesting.


    He'll also be presenting a session at AEIS next week ([url][/url]) and will be a presenter at the Doing Business in California Virtual Event on Sept. 29 ([url][/url])
  • Earlier this year, we put together a special issue of [I]Employers State Law Alert[/I] that dealt specifically with the topic of medical marijuana. The cover article explains the interplay of state medical marijuana laws, the federal controlled substances laws, employer policies, and drug testing.

    If you'd like to check out the issue, you can download it [url=]here[/url].
  • Just read this in an article - 40 medical marijuana workers in California have joined the Teamsters. Earlier this year another group had joined the United Food & Commercial Workers. Unionized pot growers! What next?:-/
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