How is Medicinal Marijuana viewed by employers in drug testing?
Several states have passed medical Marijuana laws, making it legal under state law to use Marijuana for certain medicinal purposes when such use is authorized based upon “physician recommendation.”
Regardless of state laws authorizing medical Marijuana use, Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which means that under federal law Marijuana cannot be “legally prescribed” for use in any state.
Also, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has made its position on this issue for regulated companies clear - DOT’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation does not authorize “medical marijuana” use under a state law to be a valid medical explanation for a transportation employee’s positive drug test result. Even though Marijuana is a prohibited Schedule I drug, there is currently an FDA approved Schedule III medication (Marinol), with a second Schedule III medication in the FDA approval pipeline that can be prescribed and legally used to meet patient needs under federal law.
If prescribed, these two drugs could cause a confirmed positive marijuana metabolite result, but the prescription would constitute a legitimate medical explanation.
Some states allow employers to prohibit the use of medical Marijuana for safety and other reasons. In these states, employers may be able to maintain a zero-tolerance drug-free workplace policy. In other states, however, they may be prohibited or restricted from taking adverse employment actions.
Whether or not a company decides to accommodate medical Marijuana is dependent upon a variety of laws.