The Use of Medical Marijuana Does Not Necessarily Excuse An Employee From a Positive Drug Test

Employees in safety-sensitive transportation positions will not be able to use a prescription for medical marijuana to excuse a positive drug test, according to the US Department of Transportation (DOT).  For obvious safety reasons, applicants and employees in these types of positions are drug tested before they are hired as well as randomly, following an accident, or upon reasonable suspicion.  Issues arise when a drug test comes back positive: the employee may try to explain-away the positive results, by providing evidence, such as a doctor’s prescription for use of the drug.  With such evidence, the drug test administrator will report the positive result as a confirmed negative to the employer.  The DOT has taken the position that this system will absolutely not apply to employees in safety-sensitive transportation positions who test positive for marijuana, even when they have a debilitating condition for which a doctor has recommended its use.

The DOT has issued similar opinions relative to the passage of state laws on marijuana use in Colorado and Washington.   As the medical marijuana law takes shape in Massachusetts and potentially in other states, it will continue to have an impact on employers, including their operations and policies.   If you have any questions regarding the impact of medical marijuana laws on your business, contact any of the Royal LLP attorneys at (413) 586-2288.

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