Medical Marijuana And Your Drug Free Workplace

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Arizona's Medical Marijuana Act, (the "Act"), A.R.S. §36-2810, was effective January 1, 2011. Many employers did not know how to incorporate the Act into their existing drug-free workplace policies.

The Act prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because he or she is a registered medical marijuana user, but neither the Act nor the ADHS regulations issued to interpret and implement the Act provide much guidance as to what that means or how employers can be sure they comply with this new law. The Act requires that qualified medical marijuana patients be registered with the state and issued a registration card and states that employers may not discriminate against applicants and employees who are registered card holders. For example, an employer may not make hiring and firing decisions or take disciplinary action against an employee who is a registered card holder unless the employee uses medical marijuana at work or the employer can show that the employee was impaired while at work. The practical problem is how can the employer be reasonably certain that it will be able to show that the employee was impaired? A misstep could lead to some very unfortunate legal consequences.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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