Cannabis, or marijuana, is illegal under federal law in the United States. The use and abuse of this substance produces a feeling of relaxation and euphoria but is also closely associated with anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, impaired decision-making capabilities, and a variety of other mental health problems. These effects are some of the reasons why employees' use of marijuana in the workplace is an issue of great concern to employers. Here are eight questions that you need to consider about marijuana in the workplace.
1. Are You Regulated by the United States Department of Transportation?
The US Department of Transportation, or DOT, requires professionals like truck drivers, airline pilots, subway workers, and boat captains to participate in drug tests that check for substances like marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP) in their system prior to employment. Professionals working in these fields hold other people's lives in their hands, and drugs affect a person's decision-making capabilities. This can cause problems like injuries and accidents. One small slip can produce drastic effects.
Thus, it's vital that they stay away from drugs. There are also random tests done each year to ensure that these people aren't doing their jobs under the influence. Additionally, tests can be done if an accident occurs and if the person is reasonably suspected to be abusing drugs.
2. Do You Have a Written Company Policy That Requires Testing Employees for Marijuana?
There may be negative ramifications of having employees under the influence of marijuana in the workplace. This substance can cause mood swings, hallucinations, and other conditions that may affect not only an employee's work quality but also their fellow employees. Does your company have a clear drug testing policy? Do you have a drug-free workplace program? What happens if an employee tests positive for marijuana or other drugs?
It's essential to have clear rules about this — and these policies about testing for substances must be properly disseminated and explained to everyone working in the organization. Furthermore, you should also review your state law and consult with a lawyer or drug testing company if necessary, to prevent legal consequences.
3. What are Your State's Rules and Regulations?
There are states that currently allow the use of marijuana for recreational and medical use.
In some states, like California and Washington DC, ingesting marijuana for recreational use is legal, and this can affect your company's drug-free workplace program. Get help from reliable establishments like US Drug Test Centers to know what you can and can't do if your company wants to hold pre-employment and random testing of employees for substances like marijuana in the workplace.
Reviewing your state laws is essential for upholding a drug-free workplace. For areas where medical marijuana is allowed, it's imperative your drug-free workplace policy outlines the actions that the company will take when it comes to applicants as well as employees who use medical marijuana. Evaluate your company's job functions and decide whether or not it's acceptable to have employees who use medical marijuana to handle them. If you are uncertain of the answers, it's best to seek expert advice.
4. What is Your State's Take on Employee Protection?
The rules and regulations of the state where you do business can determine your company's drug testing policy. In some states, refusing an applicant or terminating an employee who tests positive for drug use can have legal ramifications. For instance, states like Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island prohibit actions against employees or potential employees who are medical marijuana cardholders.
5. Does Your Company Participate in a State Drug-Free Workplace Program?
Did you know that some states — like Alabama, Florida, and Georgia — give discounts on insurance premiums to companies that participate in the state's drug-free workplace programs? If you are a part of this program, it's essential to abide by the policies to ensure continuous support.
6. Does Your Company Do Business With Other Organizations That Require Employee Drug Testing?
Subcontractors and other companies that provide services to other corporations may have to adhere to their clients' drug testing policies. For instance, companies that do work for the government must strictly adhere to a drug-free workplace. What are your clients' policies on drugs? It's always good to study the organizations your company works with.
7. What Is Your Company's Take on Employees Using Marijuana Outside Business Hours?
Substances can remain in your system for weeks. Furthermore, if an employee takes drugs outside work, the effects of the drug might not wear off by the next working day. An employee working under the influence may cause problems. Will your company be safe and legally compliant with employees using drugs outside business hours?
8. How Will You Know If an Employee is Using Marijuana?
There are visible signs of marijuana use — like bloodshot eyes, lack of coordination, and lack of focus — but unless an employee is tested, it will be difficult to confirm.
A urine test can find marijuana in the system from two up to seven days. Traces of the use of this substance can also be detected through a hair test within a period of 90 days.
The use of marijuana in the workplace can affect an employee's productivity and work quality. Working with people under the influence of drugs can also be uncomfortable for some employees and even dangerous. Having a clear drug-free workplace policy within your organization is an effective way to prevent this issue.
When building the structure of your company's drug-free policy, it's important to consider state laws and other factors. The questions we've listed above can help you determine the best course of action for your organization. It's also a good idea to consult a reliable drug testing company to prevent complications.
Need help with your company's drug-free workplace policy? Call us at 866-566-0261 for more information.