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Posted May 12th, 2014 in Legal Insights

Legal But Not Condoned for Work: Employers Can Still Fire Employees if THC is Found

The legalization of medical marijuana continues to spread across the country, with currently 20 states on board and multiple with pending legislation. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized the drug for recreational use. Increasingly, this movement has caused confusion and litigation between employers and employees. Medical marijuana is not legal at the federal level, and employers can still terminate employees for having THC—the cannabis chemical responsible for inducing psychological effects—in their system. Jeremy Robb, a labor and employment attorney at Nilan Johnson Lewis, says, “Employers need to think about their stance on the issue of THC tests and remind their employees of the current policy in relation to the latest legislative developments within their state.” For the states that have legalized the drug, the decision is in the employers’ hands on whether to construct a policy that prohibits the use of marijuana altogether or just specifically at work. However, he points out that so far the courts have tended to side with the employers’ decisions to terminate the employee. The key for the employer is to develop a clear and concise policy that the employee is aware of in order to avoid litigation. Contact Jeremy Robb at or (612) 305-7716.

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