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Medical marijuana – in the workplace???

SB 227, sponsored by Sen. David Sater, tackles a problem employers are likely to face following the constitutional amendment authorizing medical marijuana: Will employers be able to continue their drug testing programs?

The bill, supported by Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM), would allow an employer to refuse to accommodate the use of medical marijuana on its premises. The bill also allows employers to institute or continue random drug-testing policies. Receipt of a positive drug test for marijuana may be considered grounds for dismissal in the case of an employee or, in the case of a prospective employee, refusal of employment.

While the bill is welcomed by employers because it allows us to theoretically protect other employees from those that may be under the influence of marijuana, testing for marijuana is still inadequate to provide real protection.

Currently available marijuana tests cannot pinpoint when the drug was used. If it were used the previous evening, outside the workplace and within the constitutionally protected “medical marijuana” use criteria, how an employer proves impairment will still be a problem.

“We have heard tests are in development that may more accurately determine when marijuana was used by an employee and SB 227 would allow us to use such testing when available,” said Ray McCarty, President and CEO of AIM. “We thank Senator Sater for his bill that will allow us to pursue such options when available,” he said.

The bill was heard by the Senate Small Business and Industry Committee today and no action was taken.

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