Marijuana may be legal where you live, but that doesn’t mean you’re free to smoke whenever you want. Some employers ask their workers to be drug-free and require them to take tests as a result. But is it really fair for bosses to tell employees to refrain from partaking in a legal activity?
Well, the state of Maine has decided to address this issue. The state’s recreational marijuana law will go into effect in February, and the Maine Department of Labor announced that employers will not be able to test job applicants for marijuana or fire an employee for testing positive for it on a drug test. A spokeswoman for the department said that business will only be able to fire employees if they can improve they were impaired while on the job.
According to the Maine Department of Labor, only 800 of the state’s 46,000 employers use an approved drug testing program. 4.8 percent of job applicants and employees failed drug tests in 2016, and about 91 percent of those failed tests were caused by marijuana.
Maine continues to hammer out the details on its recreational marijuana bill. A state committee is hoping to establish licensing standards, tax rates and other regulations within the next month to allow a smoother transition when marijuana becomes legal in February.
The Maine Department of Labor announcement comes a week after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that companies couldn’t fire employees for using medicinal marijuana. As cannabis products become legal in more and more states, it appears state governments are valiantly trying to protect citizens’ freedoms.
If only the federal government would do the same.