Recently a Safety Director at one of the larger participating companies asked if“medical-marijuana” laws impact company safety policies?
The program administrator’s response follows:The SNAP Admin Guide has language in it that effectively prohibits the use of so-called medical marijuana. This is from the SNAP Admin Guide, which is available a the SNAP web portal snap.drugfreebusiness.org.
Prohibited Substances – prohibitions: A participating employer shall strictlyprohibit the illicit use, purchase, possession, sale, conveyance, distribution, ormanufacture of illegal drugs, intoxicants, or controlled substances in any amount orin any manner, including having a detectable presence of illegal drugs in the bodysystems.
In addition, the employer shall strictly prohibit the use or being under anyinfluence of alcohol during working hours. Prescription or nonprescriptionmedications are not prohibited when taken in accordance with a lawful (under bothfederal and local laws) prescription or consistent with standard dosagerecommendations. Employees in safety-sensitive jobs are responsible for notifyingtheir supervisors when prescribed medications may interfere with their ability to dotheir jobs safely.
Just to clarify a point that almost no one considers when this subject comes up – Noone in the United States can have a ‘legal’ prescription for marijuana. Such a thingsimply doesn’t exist. If you read the actual state law in each of the 15 or so statesthat have a state law governing so-called medical marijuana, each state’s lawsabout this are very similar, and none provide for a “prescription” for marijuana –legal or otherwise. Under federal law, marijuana is illegal in all 50 states no matterwhat your state says.
Here’s the wording in Washington State. Others are similar. “Qualifying patientswith terminal or debilitating illnesses who, in the judgment of their health careprofessionals, may benefit from the medical use of marijuana, shall not be foundguilty of a crime under state law for their possession and limited use ofmarijuana…”
Basically what this means is that if you have a letter signed by a doctor (in somestates it is an ID card) you can use that document to avoid criminal prosecution ifyou get caught with marijuana. A prescription has nothing to do with it. In fact, inWashington State and many others you won’t find the word “prescription” anywherein the so-called “medical-marijuana” laws.
BTW, “medical marijuana” has been legal since about 1983. It’s called Marinol®(contains synthetic THC) and it’s a Schedule III controlled substance that anydoctor can prescribe.
Some other issues that employers must consider, since marijuana is an illegaldrug: 1.Washington law (L&I) requires that employers maintain a safe workplace byprohibiting the use of alcohol and drugs2.The federal Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires that employersprohibit the use of all illegal drugs (and this includes marijuana) and takedisciplinary action against employees, etc. This applies to employersreceiving federal contracts or grants.3.So-called medical-marijuana is expressly prohibited for use by transportationworkers covered under federal testing regulations, e.g. commercial drivers.4.Your liability and other insurance carriers probably have small-print thatrequires you to prohibit the use of illegal drugs, etc.
Your question was “do medical marijuana laws impact company safety policies?”Well, hopefully employers will take a strong position considering the informationabove and not tolerate the “medical marijuana excuse”. And don’t be fooled bythose workers who say “…but I only smoke it after work.” Medical researches andscientists know that serious impairment from smoking marijuana can last for 24hours or more, well after the “high” is over.
Does marijuana, whether “medical” or not affect safety? Of course it does. I’veplaced some documents, all well researched with references on the DFB webpagehttp://www.drugfreebusiness.org/reference. Take a look at them.For instance, “The Drugged Driving Problem”
On the nation’s highways, drugged driving now poses a danger on the scale of thebetter-known problem of drunk driving. In a national survey, drugs were presentmore than 7 times as frequently as alcohol among weekend nighttime drivers in theU.S., with 16% testing positive for drugs, compared to 2% testing at or above thelegal limit for alcohol. In addition, a recent study of seriously injured drivers at theMaryland Shock Trauma Center showed that 5l% of the sample tested positive forillegal drugs, compared to 34% who tested positive for alcohol. In 2009, 10.5million people drove under the influence of drugs.
And “Why We Should Not Legalize Marijuana”:
Drug-impaired driving will also increase if marijuana is legalized. Marijuana isalready a significant causal factor in highway crashes, injuries and deaths. In arecent national roadside survey of weekend nighttime drivers, 8.6 percent testedpositive for marijuana or its metabolites, nearly four times the percentage ofdrivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 g/dL (2.2 percent).Who is paying for those accidents, medical care, and disability costs? You and I are,through higher taxes and higher insurance premiums.
BTW, on 6/9/2011 the Washington State Supreme Court rejected the notion thatemployers are required to accommodate the use of medical-marijuana. See JaneRoe v. TeleTech Customer Care Mgmt.http://www.courts.wa.gov/opinions/?fa=opinions.disp&filename=837686MAJ
So far, all state courts have also rejected workplace accommodation of medical marijuana, including most recently in a Wal-Mart case in Michiganhttp://www.mlive.com/news/grandrapids/index.ssf/2011/02/judge_upholds_walmarts_firing.html