[VIDEO] Are You Up to Date on Marijuana Laws in Your State?

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Zero-tolerance drug policies are no longer a best practice. As more states legalize medical and recreational marijuana use, terminating or failing to hire medical marijuana users due to a positive drug screen can put you at risk.

Learn why it’s important to ensure your drug screening policies are up-to-date and work with a screener that only reports the most current criminal records.


As more states legalize marijuana, there’s been a rise in discrimination claims against employers who terminate or fail to hire medical marijuana users due to a positive drug screen. Additionally, some convictions for marijuana use and possession in states that have since decriminalized or legalized its use are no longer considered convictions.

In this 2-minute compliance video, Elizabeth McLean, an expert in the background screening legal landscape and General Counsel at GoodHire, shares tips to help you stay up to date on marijuana laws and employment drug testing policies.

Watch The Video

Video Transcript

There’s a new trend in background screening compliance; but it doesn’t involve ban the box or consent forms. It involves marijuana. 

There is a rise in discrimination claims against employers who terminate or fail to hire medical marijuana users due to a positive drug screen. Additionally, some convictions for marijuana use and possession in states that have since decriminalized or legalized its use are no longer considered convictions.

And it begs the question – are YOU up to date on marijuana laws in your state?

Let’s talk about drug screening first: Up until a few years ago, it was a fairly common practice for workplaces to enforce zero-tolerance drug policies, which included rejection of applicants or employees whose drug screens came back positive. 

But this is no longer a best practice. Thirty-three states and DC have now legalized medical marijuana use, and 11 of those states specifically carve out legal protections for employees who use medical marijuana. 

For example, did you know that employers in Arizona, Delaware, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Illinois, and Arkansas cannot take adverse action against an applicant or employee with a medical marijuana card based solely on a positive drug screen for marijuana? Make sure you’re working with counsel to review your drug screening policies to avoid discrimination claims. 

Additionally, some cities are now taking action to seal, expunge, or retroactively dismiss marijuana convictions that would no longer constitute criminal offenses in jurisdictions that have decriminalized or legalized the use of marijuana. 

This means it’s more important than ever to work with a screener that only reports the most up-to-date criminal records. Ordering county searches as part of your background checks will ensure you get real-time conviction records in these locations.   

As always GoodHire has you covered. Let us know if you have questions.

Disclaimer

The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.


About the Author

Sara Korolevich is the director of content marketing and managing editor at GoodHire. She produces educational resources for employers on a variety of employment screening topics, including compliance and screening best practices, and writes about GoodHire’s company and product news. Sara’s experience stems from 20+ years working as a B2C and B2B PR and communications professional.

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