How Does the New “Medical Marijuana” Law Influence Employers?

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How Does the New “Medical Marijuana” Law Influence Employers?


The Arizona Healthcare Marijuana Act goes into impact on April 15, 2011. The Act permits a “qualifying patient” with a “debilitating healthcare condition” to acquire a registry identification card from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Cardholders can get an allowable amount of marijuana from a registered non-profit healthcare marijuana dispensary and use the marijuana to treat or alleviate particular medical conditions. A “qualifying patient” has to be diagnosed by, and get written certification from a doctor. The Arizona law does not alter marijuana’s status as an illegal drug beneath federal law.

The Arizona Healthcare Marijuana Act is now incorporated in the Arizona laws as A.R.S. 36-2801 et seq. The ADHS is the designated agency that has been assigned to build, adopt and enforce a regulatory technique for the distribution of marijuana for health-related use, the setting up of authorized dispensaries and the issuance of identification cards.

How does the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act have an effect on employers? Employers cannot discriminate against a person in hiring, terminating or imposing any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a individual primarily based on either (1) the person’s status as a cardholder, or (2) a registered qualifying patient’s good drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient made use of, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the spot of employment or during the hours of employment.

While only a qualifying patient may use health-related marijuana, other folks could also be cardholders subject to protection from discrimination which includes (1) the qualifying patient, (two) a designated caregiver or (3) an authorized non-profit health-related marijuana dispensary agent.

The Act does produce two restricted exceptions to anti-discrimination provisions. 1st, there is an exception for employers who would, “shed a monetary or licensing associated benefit under federal law or regulations.” Second, an employer is not essential to employ or continue to employ a registered qualifying patient who tests optimistic for marijuana if the patient made use of the marijuana on the employer’s premises or during hours of employment.

The Act does not permit employees to use marijuana at the workplace or for the duration of work hours. The Act does not authorize any particular person to undertake any job below the influence of marijuana that would constitute negligence or specialist malpractice. The Act specifically forbids any individual to operate motor autos who may well be impaired by sufficient amounts of marijuana components or metabolites. Thus, employers may well nonetheless take action against staff who use marijuana in the workplace or who function beneath the influence of marijuana.

Several of you may possibly be asking yourself, “Can not marijuana be detected in urine tests for quite a few days and even many weeks?” The answer is “yes,” having said that, the law reads, “the registered qualifying patient shall not be regarded as to be under the influence of marijuana solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana that appear in insufficient concentration to trigger impairment.” A.R.S. 36-2814(A)(3)

So how does an employer or the ADHS define impairment? Sadly, the Act does not define “impairment” or “beneath the influence.” Based on the statute, the mere presence of some level of metabolites or components of marijuana in the system is not enough. Employers will have to become far more astute at recognizing and documenting behaviors and indicators of marijuana impairment.

Thankfully, for employers, Arizona based employer organizations including the Higher Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, approached the Arizona State Legislature concerning the vague and ambiguous language concerning “impairment.” weed shop uk¬†prompted the State Residence of Representatives to present and pass Property Bill 2541 which basically enables employers to use equivalent recommendations that are found in “affordable suspicion” policies. The bill has been sent to the State Senate for a vote (watch our weblog for the outcome).

The greatest practices strategy for any business enterprise is to have in location a drug and alcohol policy that contains at a minimum “post accident” and “reasonable suspicion” testing. The other forms of drug testing involve pre-employment and random. Employers will need to document any observed conduct, behavior or look that is seemingly altering the employee’s job overall performance or endangering other people in the workplace.

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