In August the Missouri Attorney General announced voters will be able to decide on the November ballot whether to legalize cannabis use in the state. Should the ballot initiative pass, it is estimated sales of recreational marijuana could begin in early 2023. Like many states before, the path to recreational use typically starts with the passage of medical marijuana, which Missouri voters did in 2018. Currently, six states including Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri have legalization amendments on the 2022 November ballot.
Naturally, employers are curious what the passage of recreational marijuana will mean for the already tight labor market, their drug testing programs, and workplace policies. Despite marijuana remaining illegal at the federal level (and therefore included in DOT testing programs such as trucking, airlines, railway and bus drivers), the 18 states that have legalized recreational marijuana all have varying language and impacts on non-DOT workplace testing. Even some cities have passed regulation related to employers’ rights and circumstances for testing.
Employers should carefully evaluate employment protections or limitations written into the law to ensure proper alignment with their drug testing policy and safety-sensitive position descriptions. Additionally, employers will need to critically review policies based on their risk tolerance, culture and the safety required to perform certain functions within the company. Tomo and our partners at Current Consulting Group help companies develop drug testing policies that achieve the safety goals of your company and comply with all state laws.
Efforts to legalize marijuana at the state and federal level will continue and courts are expected to ultimately provide interpretation of the new laws, especially related to substance abuse and safety in the workplace. As a State Affiliate of the National Drug and Alcohol Screening Association, Tomo will continue to engage in advocacy efforts with local, state and federal representatives to help preserve employers’ rights to main a safe workplace, free of substance abuse and misuse.
Tomo will continue to monitor marijuana laws and offer resources to help clients navigate the changing landscape of drug use.
For more information about putting a drug and alcohol policy in place or updating your existing policy contact your account manager or click here.