How Does the New “Medical Marijuana” Law Affect Employers?


The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act goes into effect on April 15, 2011. The Act permits a “qualifying patient” with a “debilitating healthcare condition” to get a registry identification card from the Arizona Division of Overall health Solutions (ADHS). Cardholders can get an allowable quantity of marijuana from a registered non-profit medical marijuana dispensary and use the marijuana to treat or alleviate particular health-related conditions. A “qualifying patient” has to be diagnosed by, and acquire written certification from a physician. The Arizona law does not alter marijuana’s status as an illegal drug below federal law.

The Arizona Healthcare Marijuana Act is now included in the Arizona laws as A.R.S. 36-2801 et seq. The ADHS is the designated agency that has been assigned to build, adopt and enforce a regulatory system for the distribution of marijuana for healthcare use, the setting up of approved dispensaries and the issuance of identification cards.

How does the Arizona Health-related Marijuana Act impact employers? Employers can’t discriminate against a individual in hiring, terminating or imposing any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a individual primarily based on either (1) the person’s status as a cardholder, or (two) a registered qualifying patient’s good drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient utilised, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or through the hours of employment.

Though only a qualifying patient could use health-related marijuana, other men and women may well also be cardholders topic to protection from discrimination like (1) the qualifying patient, (2) a designated caregiver or (3) an authorized non-profit health-related marijuana dispensary agent.

The Act does generate two limited exceptions to anti-discrimination provisions. Very first, there is an exception for employers who would, “lose a monetary or licensing associated benefit below federal law or regulations.” Second, an employer is not expected to employ or continue to employ a registered qualifying patient who tests constructive for marijuana if the patient made use of the marijuana on the employer’s premises or through hours of employment.

The Act does not permit workers to use marijuana at the workplace or in the course of perform hours. The Act does not authorize any particular person to undertake any job under the influence of marijuana that would constitute negligence or qualified malpractice. The Act specifically forbids any individual to operate motor automobiles who may be impaired by enough amounts of marijuana components or metabolites. Hence, employers may possibly nevertheless take action against personnel who use marijuana in the workplace or who function under the influence of marijuana.

marijuana edibles for sale of you may be asking your self, “Can not marijuana be detected in urine tests for many days and even a number of weeks?” The answer is “yes,” nevertheless, the law reads, “the registered qualifying patient shall not be viewed as to be under the influence of marijuana solely because of the presence of metabolites or elements of marijuana that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.” A.R.S. 36-2814(A)(3)

So how does an employer or the ADHS define impairment? Sadly, the Act does not define “impairment” or “under the influence.” Based on the statute, the mere presence of some level of metabolites or components of marijuana in the system is not adequate. Employers will have to develop into far more astute at recognizing and documenting behaviors and indicators of marijuana impairment.

Thankfully, for employers, Arizona primarily based employer organizations such as the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, approached the Arizona State Legislature with regards to the vague and ambiguous language concerning “impairment.” This prompted the State Residence of Representatives to present and pass House Bill 2541 which essentially permits employers to use equivalent recommendations that are identified in “affordable suspicion” policies. The bill has been sent to the State Senate for a vote (watch our blog for the outcome).

The finest practices approach for any company is to have in place a drug and alcohol policy that consists of at a minimum “post accident” and “reasonable suspicion” testing. The other varieties of drug testing contain pre-employment and random. Employers want to document any observed conduct, behavior or appearance that is seemingly altering the employee’s job functionality or endangering other folks in the workplace.

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