Having a sound drug free environment can benefit the society and workplace since it helps enhance safety, increase work productivity, and reduce liabilities while complying with federal and state or industry regulations. Nonetheless, the recent passing of medical marijuana legislation makes the creation and maintenance of drug testing policy a difficult thing, particularly when combined with risks and safety issues in certain job functions within the workplace. When reviewing and developing a drug-testing policy that addresses issues of medical marijuana, employers need to ensure that they consider some best practices to promote safe working environments and compliance. Here are best medical marijuana practices:
Check On Federal Regulations
An employer may be authorized to operate on a federal contract or under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Transportation. In this case, the federal law prohibits workers from taking medical marijuana. While a company may be operating in or has employees working in many states that legalize medical marijuana, it is important that employers adhere to applicable regulations, which govern the use of marijuana in a particular state.
For the federal-regulated employers not enforcing federal drug policy, they may risk contravening or forfeiting valuable government contracts something that may result in hefty penalties when an audit is conducted.
Consider State Regulations
Where federal mandates are not applicable, employers operating in states that allow medical marijuana need to consider the requirements that have been set by the individual states when they develop their drug testing policies. The laws can vary from one state to another.
For instance, some states will limit the use of medical marijuana among people who suffer from critical or terminal illnesses but other states may allow the drugs to be used among people with a wider range of illnesses. Therefore, it is the work of the employer to ensure they comply with individual state laws on drug testing policy.
Consider Safety And Personal Issues
People who work in sensitive job positions, such as machine operators or drivers or those who handle financial information, should refrain from using medical marijuana. Employers who operate in states that have allowed the use of medical marijuana should consider prohibiting the use of the drugs on safety grounds. A construction company, for example, might want to prohibit crane operator from using medical marijuana.
Come Up With A Clear And Solid Policy And Communicate
When an employer has evaluated the state, federal, and safety issues involved in medical marijuana, they should devise a policy, which is uniform, clear, and is effectively communicated. An employment attorney may help in crafting and implementing the drug testing policy in a company.
All employees should get a copy of the policy. In addition to that, supervisors and other employees need to be notified in written form whenever there are any changes that have been made to the policy or issues pertaining to its implementation. Managers and supervisors need to be trained about how the policy is administered.
As the new legislation on medical marijuana makes its way into becoming a law, organizations should ensure they regularly review their drug testing policy and comply with set regulations while making sure they do not discriminate against workers who are protected.