A Growing Challenge: Getting Employers Ready for Legal Marijuana

I just read an interesting report from Assurex Global, titled Workplace Impacts of Marijuana Legalization, that opened up my eyes to a growing employer challenge.

If you don’t live in – or have employees in – the states of Washington, Oregon, Alaska or Colorado, you’ve probably wondered about how it works to have the use of both medical and recreational marijuana legal in your state. And you may not have done much more than just wonder.

According to this report, you probably ought leave the wondering behind and understand the intricacies of regulations all over the country regarding marijuana use and whether or not it impacts your current drug policies.

No definitive answers, but some needed insight

The truth is that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but not in certain states. So how do employers maneuver around these conflicting regulations and still provide a safe – and legal – environment for their employees?

This report doesn’t exactly answer that question definitively, but it does share sample language for updating drug policies, as well as informative legal case studies.

I was surprised by the current lay of the land (as of Sept. 22, 2015) regarding state regulations:


What is the impact on your drug policies?

You can see, that the number of states legalizing some form of marijuana use is growing.

You’ve probably thought about the impact these regulations would have (or are having) on your drug policies. That’s obvious. But how about the impact on your talent acquisition policies?

Should you be performing pre-hire testing for THC? And if you have a zero tolerance drug policy, how will that work if recreational use is legalized in your state? What about the safety implications for your employees, suppliers and customers?

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Might these regulations impact your standing with the federal government? How about your insurance rates? And what about employee off duty conduct?

That’s a lot to think about, right?

This report doesn’t give you specific answers because every state’s legislation is worded differently and includes different protections and provisions. So you have to know what’s in your state’s regulatory language.

A tricky landscape

But, the report raises the issues with which you need to come to terms in order to keep your business running legally and at peak productivity.

Written by attorney Paul L. Bittner for Assurex Global, this short report tees up the issues to consider and questions to resolve in this tricky landscape. It’s a good way for employers to get a grasp of the implications of the legalization of marijuana use and how to prepare for it if it happens in your state.

This originally appeared on China Gorman’s blog at ChinaGorman.com.

China Gorman is a successful global business executive in the competitive Human Capital Management (HCM) sector. She is a sought-after consultant, speaker and writer bringing the CEO perspective to the challenges of building cultures of humanity for top performance and innovation, and strengthening the business impact of Human Resources.

Well known for her tenure as CEO of the Great Place to Work Institute, COO and interim CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and President of Lee Hecht Harrison, China works with HCM organizations all over the world to enhance their brands and their go-to-market strategies. Additionally, she serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Jobs for America’s Graduates as well as the Advisory Boards of Elevated Careers, the Workforce Institute at Kronos, and WorldBlu. Addtionally, she chairs the Globoforce WorkHuman Advisory Board and the Universum North America Board. China is the author of the popular blog Data Point Tuesday, and is published and frequently quoted in media properties like Fortune, TLNT, Huffington Post, Inc., Fast Company, U.S. News & World Report and many others.