Lawyer Up: Should employers tolerate cannabis consumption on the job?

By Laura Bianchi | Merry Jane

Should employees be allowed to smoke weed on the job, and what recourse do they have if they’re fired for failing a drug test? Our legal columnist breaks it down for you.

Disclaimer: This column is written for educational purposes only. It does not provide specific legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This column should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.

As the legalization of cannabis continues to sweep across the nation, many employers are left in a cloud of smoke when it comes to managing their employees’ marijuana consumption — medical or recreational — in and out of the workplace. 

On one hand, employers have been hostile toward cannabis use for decades, and it remains common practice to rout out cannabis consuming employees and applicants through drug testing. Even with consumption on the rise, a January 2019 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that among participants who were employed or actively seeking employment, cannabis users were 50 percent more likely to lose their job in 2012-2013 than in 2001-2002. Clearly, there’s a common mistrust of cannabis among employers.