Marijuana and Construction Contractor Business Employees

construction drug test

Marijuana legalization recently passed in six states. Others may follow. If not already, marijuana use may eventually become legal in your state. As a construction contractor business owner or manager, you’ll have to plan for it.

Sooner is better than later.

Marijuana Use Among Employees: What Are Your Contractor Business Responsibilities and Rights?

Medical marijuana prescriptions for approved conditions vary. Connecticut approves marijuana in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. Colorado does not.

Recreational marijuana is now legal in:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Meanwhile, none of these states is in-compliance with the federal law which says marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug; a controlled substance with no medical use, and a high potential for addiction.

Before You Request a Drug Test

You have the right to request and enforce employee drug testing. But you must know the laws of your state; if an employee tests positive for marijuana but the drug test itself is “illegal,” you may not be able to take action.

In some states, random drug screens are not legal. In other states, random drug testing is legal only if you can prove you had just cause.

If the employee:

  • Appears intoxicated at work
  • Holds a safety-sensitive position
  • Is returning to work after a drug rehabilitation program
  • Was involved in a work-related accident that resulted in injury/property damage

Some states have procedural requirements.

The employer must:

  • Administer the test in a way that maximizes privacy
  • Give the applicant/employee opportunity to challenge the results
  • Pay for some/all testing costs
  • Provide advance notice to applicant/employee
  • Use a state-certified lab

Some states (Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) have no restrictions for employment drug testing.

The only recourse an employee has to challenge the testing is to prove it was administered as a result of or led to:

  • Defamation
  • Discrimination – age, disability, gender, race
  • Invasion of privacy

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