5 State Marijuana Mandates Throwing Employers for a Loop

November 25, 2019, Law360, by Vin Gurrieri–

In Nevada, one issue that Reno-based McDonald Carano LLP partner Leigh Goddard said has created a “huge problem” for employers is a law taking effect in 2020 that prevents an employer from rescinding a job offer if the applicant tests positive for marijuana after the offer was made.  Goddard noted that there are some exceptions, such as jobs as firefighters or EMS workers, jobs in certain safety-sensitive positions, and jobs for federal contractors.  But businesses may get caught in a bind if they must comply with vendor contracts or regulations in other states that mandate drug-free workplaces that are based on a benchmark set by the U.S. Department of Transportation, she said. “Here we have employers that don’t fall within any of these exceptions and they’re required to comply with the requirement, but they can’t fire or revoke that offer of employment,” Goddard said. “So we don’t even really know how to deal with that yet, because we have no guidance and the law hasn’t gone into effect. But that explains a bit of the struggle that employers are going through when they deal with things on a state-by-state basis; it’s really difficult.”

As more states have legalized marijuana for recreational and medical purposes, employers have had to navigate a hodgepodge of different rules as they reevaluate long-standing workplace drug policies and assess their obligation to accommodate disabled workers.  While marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance on the federal level on par with heroin and LSD — substances the government considers to have no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse — several dozen states have legalized it in some form.  But states and some local municipalities have enacted a wide range of rules and regulations themselves, leaving employers scratching their heads in figuring out how to deal with ever increasing numbers of workers who legally use marijuana and with complying with rules that can vary wildly across jurisdictions.  To read entire article click here.


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