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Federal Court Says Employers Can Still Drug Test Workers With Legally Prescribed Marijuana

While medical marijuana may be legal in 30 states, that doesn't actually mean people living in areas with legally prescribed cannabis can partake as much as they want. And now a federal court has reinforced those standards.

A U.S. District Court in New Jersey ruled that a business does not have to waive its mandatory drug testing policy for employees with legally prescribed medical marijuana. The judge also ruled that employees are not protected from workplace punishments for using medical marijuana, unless state law explicitly includes protections for those situations.

The case that the decision came form involved a man who sued his employer for discrimination because they wouldn't let him return to his job unless he submitted to a breathalyzer and urine drug test. When he was hired for his job, he told his employers that he was using medical marijuana, but it wasn't an issue until he received an injury while working and needed to take time off. He was told he would need to submit to a drug test when he came back, which he could not pass since he was a medical marijuana user.

The judge in the case noted that while New Jersey law did protect medical marijuana users from legal penalties, it does not require employers to accommodate their cannabis use.

It should be noted that New Jersey is also a "at-will" state, meaning employers can fire people for any reason they want, whether or not it's justified. Perhaps that also affected the outcome of the case as well.

It seems like marijuana advocates should begin pushing for workplace protections to be included in marijuana legalization bills going forward.



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