Navigating Legal Marijuana in the Workplace

With the growth of legal marijuana laws that authorize medicinal use in most states and recreational availability in a handful of others, the issue of marijuana use by employees has become a central topic of conversation in workplaces across the country. For some companies, discretion in the enforcement of drug-free policies with regard to off-duty cannabis use is the key to maintaining staff as more and more legal users find it has benefits for them. At the same time, a handful of industries have liabilities that make tolerating cannabis use among employees quite risky, and many states provide employers discretion in their accommodation of medicinal marijuana use.

Insurance Planning and Cannabis Policy

When deciding exactly where to stand on cannabis use, it is important to have a discussion with your insurer about how employee cannabis use affects your policies, especially if you do not screen for it regularly. Often, there is a compromise to be found between excluding legal marijuana users completely and taking on the extra risk because of them. Limiting testing to essential roles and using tests that only detect metabolites related to immediate intoxication are two of the more popular policies. While drug tests that focus on the active metabolite over the residual THC levels in the blood are more expensive than traditional tests for THC, they may be the key to a competitive but safe policy regarding employee cannabis use.