Can employers drug test workers for marijuana in my state? | Turn 420
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Can employers drug test workers for marijuana in my state?

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We checked the books of all 50 states to see if your boss can test you for weed.


Workplace drug testing has been the bane of cannabis users’ existence since the Reagan administration started requiring federal employees to take THC tests in 1986. The War On Drugs disseminated weed testing requirements to employers across the country within a decade of the presidential directive. And today, THC tests are still commonplace in most workplaces across the country.

But unlike alcohol, a breathalyzer for cannabis doesn’t exist. Cannabis can remain in the body and show up on a urine test for weeks after consumption, meaning employers can’t prove an employee was impaired on the job. Still, employers have selectively leveraged for decades against employees and applicants. Most states with legalized cannabis for medical or adult use still allow workplaces to use urine tests as grounds for termination. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, plenty of federal industry establishments still drug test their employees.

But 2022 has proven to be on the workers’ side, with both California and New Jersey passing legislation and releasing new state guidelines for how employers can test their current and prospective employees for marijuana use. In short: A positive test alone is no longer grounds for termination, and employees have grounds to appeal wrongful firings.

While these government efforts will protect workers in their respective states, most states still leave their cannabis users vulnerable. We’ve compiled a list of the states and their stances on workplace weed testing.

Alabama: Yes.

Alabama currently has no legislation protecting employees from termination or consequences for medical marijuana use. The law states:

“Nothing in this article shall be construed to prevent an employer from establishing reasonable work rules related to employee possession, use, sale, or solicitation of drugs, including convictions for drug-related offenses, and taking action based upon a violation of any of those rules.” 

Alaska: Yes.

Alaska’s Restrictions On Medical Use of Marijuana (AS 17.37.040.) states that employers do not have to protect or accommodate medical cannabis patients.

AS 17.38 (7-25-18) Chapter 17.38 adds that “nothing in this chapter is intended to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumptions, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growing of marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of employers to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.

Arizona: No.

Arizona’s Title 36. Public Health and Safety Revised Statute § 36-2813 protects cardholder MMJ patients and stipulates that “A registered qualifying patient’s positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment.”

According to, A.R.S. § 23-493.05, “An employer may take adverse employment action based on a positive drug test or alcohol impairment test.”

This doesn’t extend to adult-use users, and the The Arizona Drug Testing of Employees Act does permit employers to limit which positions medical patients can hold.

Arkansas: No.

Arkansas flag
(AdobeStock)

Arkansas’ medical cannabis bill has a section called Drug Free Workplace, which states: “Although the use of marijuana is prohibited while an applicant or employee is on DFA Property or during working hours, DFA may not discriminate against a job applicant or employee in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize an Applicant or Employee, based on the applicant’s past or present status as a Qualifying Patient or designated caregiver, the individual who assists the patient with ingesting the marijuana.”

California: No.

California recently passed AB-2188 Discrimination in employment: Use of cannabis in September, which prohibits emplyers from pre-employment drug testing.

Colorado: Yes.

Colorado currently has no legislation in place to protect MMJ patients or recreational cannabis users from workplace drug testing and consequences for using cannabis, even off-duty. 

According to Colorado Constitution of 1876 Art. XVIII, § 16. Personal use and regulation of marijuana: “Nothing in this section is intended to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of employers to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.”

Connecticut: No.

Here are the state laws that protect workers in Connecticut from cannabis testing:

  1. Sec. 31-51t. Drug testing states: No employer may determine an employee’s eligibility for promotion, additional compensation, transfer, termination, disciplinary or other adverse personnel action solely on the basis of a positive urinalysis drug test result, though there are some exceptions.
  2. Sec. 31-51v. Drug testing: Prospective employees. No employer may require a prospective employee to submit to a urinalysis drug test as part of the application procedure for employment with such employer unless (1) the prospective employee is informed in writing at the time of application of the employer’s intent to conduct such a drug test, (2) such test is conducted in accordance with the requirements of subdivisions (1) and (2) of subsection (a) of section 31-51u and (3) the prospective employee is given a copy of any positive urinalysis drug test result.

Delaware: No.

Delaware’s medical patients have employee protections from weed tests.

The Delaware Medical Marijuana Act gives medical marijuana patients protection from hiring and terminating discrimination simply based on a positive drug test, “Unless a failure to do so would cause the employer to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or federal regulations, an employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon either the person’s status as a cardholder, or a registered qualifying patient’s positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient used, possessed, or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment.”

Washington D.C.: Kind of.

The nation’s capital is tricky. D.C. does have protections in place for medical marijuana patients, but there are exceptions “if compliance would cause the agency to commit a violation of a federal law, regulation, contract, or funding agreement.” DC sits on federal land and the federal government provides a large share of employment opportunities. So while DC banned pre-employment testing this year, many of the District’s employees still face cannabis tests.

According to D.C. Law 23-276. Medical Marijuana Program Patient Employment Protection Amendment Act of 2020. : Sec. 2062. Protections for qualifying patients: 

  • (a)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law and except as provided in subsection
  • (b) of this section, an agency may not refuse to hire, terminate from employment, penalize, fail to promote, or otherwise take adverse employment action against an individual based upon the individual’s status as a qualifying patient unless the individual used, possessed, or was impaired by marijuana at the individual’s place of employment or during the individual’s hours of employment.”

Washington D.C.’s cannabis testing laws also state that “a qualifying patient’s failure to pass an agency-administered drug test for marijuana components or metabolites may not be used as a basis for employment-related decisions unless reasonable suspicion exists that the qualifying patient was impaired by or used marijuana at the qualifying patient’s place of employment or during the qualifying patient’s hours of employment.”  

Florida: Yes.

Employers in Florida have the right to use pre- and post-employment drug testing as grounds for not hiring or firing employees—including for cannabis—regardless of the employee’s MMJ patient status. 

Employers in Florida have the right to use pre- and post-employment drug testing as grounds for not hiring or firing employees—including for cannabis—regardless of the employee’s MMJ patient status. See Section 381.986 – Medical use of marijuana and 440.102 Drug-free workplace program requirements of Florida law for the full rundown.

Georgia: Yes.

All of Georgia’s cannabis laws are garbage! The state has only legalized possession of low-THC oil for medical patients. The law, HB 1:Haleigh’s Hope Act, includes no employee protections: 

“f) Nothing in this article shall require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growing of marijuana in any form, or to affect the ability of an employer to have a written zero tolerance policy prohibiting the on-duty, and off-duty, use of marijuana, or prohibiting any employee from having a detectable amount of marijuana in such employee’s system while at work.”

Hawaii: Yes.

While Hawaii legalized medical marijuana in 2000, the state has made no employee protections for card-carrying MMJ applicants or current employees who use cannabis. Employers can use a positive drug test for termination.

Here’s the law: §329-122  Medical use of cannabis; conditions of use.

Idaho: Yes.

When it comes to cannabis testing, Idaho stinks, big time. No medical or legal weed and absolutely no protections for employees. The IDAHO EMPLOYER ALCOHOL AND DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE ACT states:

“Nothing herein prohibits an employer from using the results of a drug or alcohol test conducted by a third party including, but not limited to, law enforcement agencies, hospitals, etc., as the basis for determining whether an employee has committed misconduct.”

Illinois: It depends.

Employees in Illinois who use cannabis have discrimination protections, but there are exceptions, such as nonprofits.

According to the 820 ILCS 55/) Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act.:

“Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, including Section 10-50 of the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, and except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this Section, it shall be unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise disadvantage any individual, with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment because the individual uses lawful products off the premises of the employer during nonworking and non-call hours.”

Per the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act:

“(a) Nothing in this Act shall prohibit an employer from adopting reasonable zero tolerance or drug free workplace policies, or employment policies concerning drug testing, smoking, consumption, storage, or use of cannabis in the workplace or while on call provided that the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.”

Indiana: Yes.

Indiana has no specific statutes on drug testing, nor any legislation for medical marijuana or rec cannabis. CBD oil possession is allowed, but workers are not protected. Employers can use positive marijuana tests as grounds for termination or not hiring.

Iowa: Yes.

Iowa only permits the use of low-THC cannabis oil, but makes no exceptions or protections for employees.

Iowa’s 730.5 Private sector drug-free workplaces law states: “Employers retain the right of “testing or taking action against an employee or prospective employee with a confirmed positive test result due to the employee’s or prospective employee’s use of medical cannabidiol as authorized under chapter 124E.”

Kansas: Yes.

Kansas has no legislation for medical marijuana or recreational cannabis, and no statutes that specify how employers should conduct workplace drug testing. Since it’s illegal, employers may use a positive test for cannabis for disciplinary action or termination. CBD without any THC is allowed.

Kentucky: Yes.

Kentucky prohibits both medical marijuana and recreational cannabis.

The state’s Drug Free Workplace policy states that “The proper use of controlled or over-the counter drugs as part of a prescribed treatment program of the individual does not constitute, by the fact alone, a violation of the Policy, but it may be important for an employee’s supervisor to be aware such use is occurring in order to determine job assignment. Such use may provide a basis for reassignment, a leave of absence or termination because of medical reasons. An employee undergoing prescribed medical treatment with a controlled medication that could impair his/her physical, mental or emotional faculties must immediately report this treatment to his/her supervisor.” But cannabinoids and THC are part of the list, and will likely lead to termination or non-hiring.

Louisiana: Not for long.

In June 2022, the Louisiana State Senate passed “a bill intended to protect state employees from” cannabis testing-based work discrimination.

The new law was signed by Gov. John Bell Edwards (D) and proposed by Rep. Mandie Landry (D). The law states that no state employer “shall subject an employee or prospective employee to negative employment consequences” for a positive THC test result, permitting they’re a registered medical cannabis patient with a recommendation from a licensed physician.”

Maine: No.

Maine has both medical marijuana and rec cannabis. Employees and applicants who use cannabis for medical marijuana have protections for off-duty cannabis use, and a positive drug test can’t be the sole reason for non-hiring or firing. Many employers have stopped testing employees and applicants for cannabis.

Maryland: Maryland has medical marijuana, and may soon have recreational cannabis based on results from Nov. 2022 elections. However, Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission says:  “​Maryland law does not prevent an employer from testing for use of cannabis (for any reason) or taking action against an employee who tests positive for use of cannabis (for any reason).​”

Maryland: Yes.

Maryland has no current protections, but a new bill is currently being considered by lawmakers in the state. HB 628 “Workers’ Compensation and Workplace Discrimination – Use of Medical Cannabis” aims to address the matter.

Massachusetts: Yes.

Massachusetts has medical marijuana and adult use. The law does not offer protections for cannabis users from their employers.

According to the The Regulation Aand Taxation Of Marijuana Act, “employment. This chapter shall not require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by this chapter in the workplace and shall not affect the authority of employers to enact and enforce workplace policies restricting the consumption of marijuana by employees.

The law does disqualify “negligent conduct” caused by impairment, adding, “this chapter shall not amend existing penalties for conduct involving the performance of any task while impaired by marijuana that would constitute negligence or professional malpractice and shall not prevent the imposition of any civil, criminal or other penalty for such conduct.”

But, per Nolo: “An employee who uses medical marijuana to treat a disability is entitled to reasonable accommodation under the state disability discrimination law.”

Michigan: Yes.

Michigan has both medical and recreational cannabis, but no law or statute protecting workers who use cannabis form drug testing or adverse action.

According to the “Michigan Regulation And Taxation Of Marihuana Act, “This act does not require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by this act in any workplace or on the employer’s property. This act does not prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for violation of a workplace drug policy or for working while under the influence of marihuana. This act does not prevent an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against a person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that person’s violation of a workplace drug policy or because that person was working while under the influence of marihuana.”

Minnesota: Yes.

Minnesota only has medical marijuana, but patients have some protections. Here’s the full law, SF 2470, which states:

“(c) Unless a failure to do so would violate federal law or regulations or cause an employer to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulations, an employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon either of the following: (1) the person’s status as a patient enrolled in the registry program under sections 152.22 to 152.37; or (2) a patient’s positive drug test for cannabis components or metabolites, unless the patient used, possessed, or was impaired by medical cannabis on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment. Or, (d) An employee who is required to undergo employer drug testing pursuant to section 181.953 may present verification of enrollment in the patient registry as part of the employee’s explanation under section 181.953, subdivision 6.”

Mississippi: Yes.

No legal weed yet, but medical marijuana is on the way. And the bill has no employee protections. According to SENATE BILL NO. 2095, “This chapter shall not be construed to do any of the following: 

  • (b) Require any employer to permit, accommodate, or allow the medical use of medical cannabis, or to modify any job or working conditions of any employee who engages in the medical use of medical cannabis or who for any reason seeks to engage in the medical use of medical cannabis;
  • (c) Prohibit any employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against an individual with respect to hiring, discharging, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment as a result, in whole or in part, of that individual’s medical use of medical cannabis, regardless of the individual’s impairment or lack of impairment resulting from the medical use of medical cannabis; 
  • (d) Prohibit or limit the ability of any employer from establishing or enforcing a drug-testing policy.”

Missouri: Yes.

Missouri had medical marijuana but no adult use (on the ballot for Nov 2022)The House tried to introduce a bill in 2020, HB 2674, to prevent discrinimation against medical marijuana patients at work, but it has not passed. No workplace drug testing protections for employees who use cannabis.  

Montana: No.

Montana implemented employee protections for those who use cannabis off-duty on Jan.1, 2022. Some exceptions, such as nonprofits, apply, but employees who use cannabis off-duty have discrimination protections.

Per Montana’s HB 701:“Except as provided in subsections (3) and (4), an employer may not refuse to employ or license and may not discriminate against an individual with respect to compensation, promotion, or the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because the individual legally uses a lawful product off the employer’s premises during nonworking hours.”

Nebraska: Yes.

No forms of legal weed in Nebraska, and employers aren’t required to drug test their employees. No legislation specifies protections for cannabis users. But their drug testing laws (Nebraska Revised Statute 48-1903) state:

“Any results of any test performed on the body fluid or breath specimen of an employee, as directed by the employer, to determine the presence of drugs or alcohol shall not be used to deny any continued employment or in any disciplinary or administrative action unless the following requirements are met.”

Those requirements include: “(1) A positive finding of drugs by preliminary screening procedures has been subsequently confirmed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry or other scientific testing technique which has been or may be approved by the department; and “(2) A positive finding of alcohol by preliminary screening procedures is subsequently confirmed by either:

  • (a) Gas chromatography with a flame ionization detector or other scientific testing technique which has been or may be approved by the department; or
  • (b) A breath-testing device operated by a breath-testing-device operator. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to preclude an employee from immediately requesting further confirmation of any breath-testing results by a blood sample if the employee voluntarily submits to give a blood sample taken by qualified medical personnel in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the department. If the confirmatory blood test results do not confirm a violation of the employer’s work rules, any disciplinary or administrative action shall be rescinded. Except for a confirmatory breath test as provided in subdivision (2)(b) of this section, all confirmatory tests shall be performed by a clinic, hospital, or laboratory which is certified pursuant to the federal Clinical Laboratories Improvement Act of 1967, 42 U.S.C. 263a.

Nevada: No.

Nevada has both medical marijuana and adult use cannabis laws. Applicants and employees have protections from ramifications for testing positive for cannabis:

Nevada’s law (NRS 613.333) states that “it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to:

  • (a) Fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee
  • (b) Discharge or otherwise discriminate against any employee concerning the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment, because the employee engages in the lawful use in this state of any product outside the premises of the employer during the employee’s nonworking hours, if that use does not adversely affect the employee’s ability to perform his or her job or the safety of other employees.”

But the adult-use law does not prevent “a public or private employer from maintaining, enacting and enforcing a workplace policy prohibiting or restricting actions or conduct otherwise permitted under this chapter”

New Hampshire: Not medical patients.

New Hampshire has legal medical marijuana, but no adult use. Medical marijuana patients have protections:

The law, HB573, states, “unless a failure to do so would constitute a violation of federal law or federal regulations, an employer shall not discriminate against an individual in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize an individual, based upon either of the following: (1) The individual’s status as a registered qualifying patient or registered designated caregiver; or (2) A registered qualifying patient’s positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient used or possessed, or was under the influence of or impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment. For purposes of this chapter, “impaired” includes but is not limited to instances where the registered qualifying patient is not able to safely perform essential job tasks.”

New Jersey: No.

Per Leafly :The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) approved temporary guidelines for Workplace Impairment Guidance, which prohibit employers from terminating employees simply for testing positive for cannabis on traditional drug tests.

From now on, employers must “document evidence/proof of impairment in the workplace to support the use of a drug test to confirm reasonable suspicion.”

New Mexico: Yes.

New Mexico began adult use cannabis sales in 2022, in addition to medical marijuana. However! Workers have no protections.

The law, House bill 2, does not “prevent or infringe upon the rights of an employer to adopt and implement a written zero-tolerance policy regarding the use of cannabis products. A zero-tolerance policy may permit the discipline or termination of an employee on the basis of a positive drug test that indicates any amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol metabolite.”

New York: No.

New York’s MRTA amended Section 201-D of the New York Labor Law states that:

“Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on the employee’s use of cannabis outside of the workplace, outside of work hours, and without use of the employer’s equipment or property.”

But, employers may take employment action or prohibit employee conduct in situations where state or federal statute, regulation, ordinance, or other governmental mandate THC testing. Or, if “the employer would be in violation of federal law or lose a federal contract as a result of employee use. Clear impairment on the job from cannabis use is the only other acceptable reason for an employee in New York to be tested.

North Carolina: Yes.

North Carolina has no legal weed, except for CBD  for seizure disorders. Per the Controlled Substance Examination Regulation, no protections for cannabis use.

North Dakota: Yes.

North Dakota has medical marijuana only, and no specific drug testing laws. The law (and CHAPTER 19-24.1 MEDICAL MARIJUANA) isn’t clear on workplace protections, stating that “This chapter does not prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for possessing or consuming usable marijuana in the workplace or for working while under the influence of marijuana.”

Ohio: Yes.

(AdobeStock)

Ohio has established a medical marijuana program, but with no employee protections for drug testing. In Section 3796.28 | Rights of employer seems to prioritize the rights of employers. Nothing in this chapter does any of the following:

  • Requires an employer to permit or accommodate an employee’s use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana.
  • Prohibits an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against a person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that person’s use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana.
  • Prohibits an employer from establishing and enforcing a drug testing policy, drug-free workplace policy, or zero-tolerance drug policy.

Oklahoma: Not medical patients.

Oklahoma has a huge medical marijuana program, but won’t be adding rec cannabis to the ballot this year (booo). In 2020, statutes were updated to protect MMJ patient employees from discrimination based on cannabis use.

This is the full law: Title 63. Public Health and Safety §63-427.8. Additional rights, restrictions and prohibitions related to medical marijuana use and possession. It states that “Unless otherwise required by federal law or required to obtain federal funding: 1. No employer may refuse to hire, discipline, discharge or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee solely on the basis of such applicant’s or employee’s status as a medical marijuana licensee; and 2. No employer may refuse to hire, discipline, discharge or otherwise penalize an applicant or employee solely on the basis of a positive test for marijuana components or metabolites.

Exceptions to the protection are as follows:

  • a.the applicant or employee is not in possession of a valid medical marijuana license:
  • b.the licensee possesses, consumes or is under the influence of medical marijuana or medical marijuana product while at the place of employment or during the fulfillment of employment obligations, or
  • c.the position is one involving safety-sensitive job duties, as such term is defined in subsection K of this section.

The law adds that “nothing in this act or Section 420 et seq. of Title 63 of the Oklahoma Statutes shall require an employer to permit or accommodate the use of medical marijuana on the property or premises of any place of employment or during hours of employment.

Oregon: Yes.

Oregon has both medical and recreational cannabis. But the law does not protect workers or applicants who use cannabis from discrimination if they tested positive for marijuana. However, many employers in the state have laxed their policies anyway.

Pennsylvania: Everywhere but Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania has medical marijuana, but not adult-use cannabis. Only the city of Philadelphia has prohibited pre-employment marijuana testing, but the state has no laws that protect employees from discrimination based on cannabis use.

Philly Bill 200625 says: Except as otherwise provided by law, or as excepted in subsections (2) or (3) hereof, it shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer, labor organization, employment agency or agent thereof to require a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of marijuana in such prospective employee’s system as a condition of employment. (2) Exceptions. The prohibition of this Section 9-4702(1) shall not apply to persons applying to work in the following jobs or professions:

  • (a) Police officer or other law enforcement positions.
  • (b) Any position requiring a commercial driver’s license.
  • (c) Any position requiring the supervision or care of children, medical patients, disabled or other vulnerable individuals.

Rhode Island: Not really.

Rhode Island legalized recreational cannabis in 2022, and with it came some protections for employees who use cannabis off-duty, with exceptions.

Here’s what the law, RI H7593, says about employee cannabis rights:

“Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed to require employers to accommodate the use or possession of cannabis, or being under the influence of cannabis, in any workplace or the use of cannabis in any other location while an employee is performing work, including remote work. Employers may implement drug use policies which prohibit the use or possession of cannabis in the workplace or while performing work from being under the influence of cannabis, provided that unless such use is prohibited pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, an employer shall not fire or take disciplinary action against an employee solely for an employee’s private, lawful use of cannabis outside the workplace and as long as the employee has not and is not working under the influence of cannabis except to the extent that: (1) The employer is a federal contractor or otherwise subject to federal law or regulations such that failure to take such action would cause the employer to lose a monetary or licensing related benefit thereunder; or (2) The employee is employed in a job, occupation or profession that is hazardous, dangerous or essential to public welfare and safety. If the employee’s job, occupation or profession involves work that is hazardous, dangerous or essential to public welfare and safety then the employer may adopt and implement policies which prohibit the use or consumption of cannabis within the twenty-four (24) hour period prior to a scheduled work shift or assignment.”

The law adds that “hazardous, dangerous or essential to public welfare and safety shall include, but not be limited to: operation of an aircraft, watercraft, heavy equipment, heavy machinery, commercial vehicles, school buses or public transportation; use of explosives; public safety first responder jobs; and emergency and surgical medical personnel.”

Another section mentions that: “Nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against a person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that person’s violation of a workplace drug policy or because that person was working while under the influence of cannabis.”

South Carolina: Yes.

Only CBD is legal in SC—no MMJ and no adult-use cannabis. Ergo, no legislation or protections for employees.

South Dakota: Yes.

South Dakota has approved a medical marijuana program, and will vote on rec cannabis in November. The laws on employee protections are a little weird; no explicit testing protections mentioned.

The law (Chapter 34-20G Medical Cannabis) states: “Except as provided in this chapter, a registered qualifying patient who uses cannabis for a medical purpose shall be afforded all the same rights under state and local law, as the person would be afforded if the person were solely prescribed a pharmaceutical medication, as it pertains to: (1) Any interaction with a person’s employer; (2) Drug testing by a person’s employer; or (3) Drug testing required by any state or local law, agency, or government official.

No employer is required to allow the ingestion, possession, transfer, display, or transportation of cannabis in any workplace or to allow any employee to work while under the influence of cannabis. No employer is prohibited from establishing and enforcing a drug free workplace policy that may include a drug testing program that complies with state and federal law and acting with respect to an applicant or employee under the policy.

Tennessee: Yes.

Tennessee has no legal weed except CBD, nor protections. A bill (TN HB1330) introduced in 2021 that would protect employees from cannabis use-based discrimination died.

Texas: Heck yeah.

No legal weed in Texas except CBD/Low-THC cannabis, and definitely no protections for employees.

Utah: Kind of.

Utah has medical marijuana but no adult use cannabis. There are some new protections for residents and employees in the works. In 2022, legislators updated the Utah Medical Cannabis Act to treat “an employee’s use of medical cannabis in the same way the state or political subdivision treats employee use of any prescribed controlled substance.” The law adds that “an employee’s status as a medical cannabis cardholder or an employee’s medical cannabis recommendation from a qualified medical provider or limited provider in the same way the state or political subdivision treats an employee’s prescriptions for any prescribed controlled substance.”

Medical patients are protected by Section 67-19a-101, which states that if they fail “a drug test due to marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol without evidence that the employee was impaired or otherwise adversely affected in the employee’s job performance due to the use of medical cannabis,” they cannot face retaliation.

Like most states, Utah steps back when federal regulations or funds are involved.

A unique (and bogus)  part of Utah’s law states that an employee who uses “medical cannabis during the 12 hours immediately preceding the employee’s shift or during the employee’s shift,” could still face some disciplinary action.

Vermont: Yes.

Vermont has legalized both medical and recreational cannabis. However, the laws still allow prospective employers to test for marijuana. Employers may only test employees with probable cause.

Employer MJ Guide for Vermont says, “While Vermont’s medical marijuana laws do not require employers to tolerate the consumption or possession of marijuana in the workplace, the laws do not permit employers to discriminate against disabled applicants or employees who use medical marijuana outside of work to treat their disability.”

“Employers may prohibit or otherwise regulate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growing of marijuana on their premises; Employers may adopt policies prohibiting the use of marijuana in the workplace.”

“While Vermont law does allow employers to drug test employees, employers may only do so in very limited circumstances. Before considering drug testing employees or applicants, it is important that employers understand the specific requirements of the law, as set forth below.”

“Drug Testing Job Applicants Under Vermont law, employers may not require or request that an applicant for employment submit to a drug test unless all the following conditions are met:

  • The employer has already extended a conditional offer of employment to the applicant to be tested, contingent upon the applicant receiving a negative drug test result; 
  • The employer gives the applicant written notice of the drug testing procedures and a list of the drugs to be tested. This notice must also state that any therapeutic levels of medically prescribed drugs will not be reported to the employer; and.
  • The drug test is administered in accordance with specific statutory requirements, including being tested by a laboratory approved by the Vermont Department of Health. These specific requirements are laid out in more detail below.

Virginia: Yes.

Virginia has legalized both medical marijuana and adult use cannabis as of 2021. But protections for patients and users remain limited. The Code of Virginia protects patients who use cannabis oil, but there do not appear to be any protections for rec users. But the definition of cannabis oil is confusing.

“No employer shall discharge, discipline, or discriminate against an employee for such employee’s lawful use of cannabis oil pursuant to a valid written certification issued by a practitioner for the treatment or to eliminate the symptoms of the employee’s diagnosed condition or disease pursuant to § 54.1-3408.3.

Virginia doesn’t restrict an employer’s “ability to take any adverse employment action for any work impairment caused by the use of cannabis oil or to prohibit possession during work hours.” Also, the law does not require an employer to “hire or retain any applicant or employee who tests positive for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in excess of 50 ng/ml for a urine test or 10 pg/mg for a hair test.”

Washington: Yes.

Despite having one of the earliest adult use cannabis programs, Washington does not offer their employees many protections. Employers can still drug test employees for cannabis and enforce a drug-free workplace. A bill introduced to strengthen protections in early 2022 has not progressed.

West Virginia: Not for medical patients.

West Virginia has medical marijuana. While employees have discirmination protection for being MMJ patients, the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act doesn’t specify drug testing protections. The law states:

  • (1) No employer may discharge, threaten, refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee regarding an employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges solely on the basis of such employee’s status as an individual who is certified to use medical cannabis.
  • (2) Nothing in this act shall require an employer to make any accommodation of the use of medical cannabis on the property or premises of any place of employment. This act shall in no way limit an employer’s ability to discipline an employee for being under the influence of medical cannabis in the workplace or for working while under the influence of medical cannabis when the employee’s conduct falls below the standard of care normally accepted for that position.
  • (3) Nothing in this act shall require an employer to commit any act that would put the employer or any person acting on its behalf in violation of federal law.

Wisconsin: Yes.

CBD is legal in Wisconsin, that’s it. No workplace protections for employees.

Wyoming: Yes.

Wyoming has no legal form of cannabis, and thus no protections for employee drug testing.

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