Clearing up the confusion with marijuana

Employers face a number of issues with marijuana that include safety-sensitive carve-outs, impairment, off-duty use, varying employment protections by state, recreational use, and the expansion of medical marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) products.

Two drug testing industry experts, R. H. Barry Sample, PhD, senior director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics, and Faye Caldwell, Attorney at Law, Caldwell Everson, examined many of these concerns in our recent webinar. Some key points from our presentation include:

  • The rate of workforce drug positivity hit a fourteen-year high, according to the latest Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™. Marijuana tops the list of the most commonly detected illicit substances across all workforce categories and drug test specimen types.
  • Over the past five years, marijuana positivity in the majority of states with legalized, recreational marijuana increased at a higher rate than non-recreational states.
  • All states with recreational laws also have comprehensive medical marijuana laws. Medical marijuana states also have low delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)/high CBD laws.
  • States include a range of health issues as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, such as anxiety, arthritis, autism/autism spectrum disorder, chronic pain, lupus, migraines, obstructive sleep apnea, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Most states prohibit driving under the influence of marijuana, but do not provide guidance. Some states have per se limits of THC in blood tests but there is no consensus on limits.
  • Hemp is legal today if produced in accordance with the 2014 Farm Bill. The hemp plant was removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in December 20, 2018.
  • The Drug Enforcement Administration denied petition to reschedule the drug in 2016. All marijuana is illegal under Federal law and it remains a Schedule I drug.

“Our in-depth analysis shows that marijuana is not only present in our workforce, but use continues to increase,” said Dr. Sample.

Developing a marijuana policy
When building your company’s drug policy, know your workforce and the laws and obligations that apply where you conduct business. Be clear about which employees are subject to drug testing and how to administer your program. Your policy should detail the consequences for an employee who tests positive on a drug test, the protocols to handle marijuana use, and your organization’s response to an employee who claims medical marijuana status.

Watch an on-demand presentation of our webinar.

Download our marijuana white paper.

For more information about marijuana, visit our website.