With the legalization of marijuana in various states nationwide, both employees and employers alike are wondering what kind of impact the new laws will have on employment substance abuse testing and policies. The Colorado Court of Appeals recently stated that pot smokers can be fired for marijuana use despite state endorsement. What does this mean for employers? You can prohibit the use of marijuana in your workplace and may fire employee who test positive. In the state of Colorado, “for an activity to be lawful in Colorado, it must be permitted by, and not contrary to, both state and federal law,” the appeals court stated in its 2-1 conclusion. Other states, such as Arizona, protect employee smoking rights, unless it would jeopardize an employer’s federal licensing or contracts.
Due to state and federal conflict, marijuana laws remain somewhat unclear. Keep state and federal laws, as well as legal penalties, in mind as you develop your policies related to substance abuse and substance abuse testing.