DOT Drug/Alcohol Testing Developments

Is Your Workplace Affected by Recent Marijuana Legislation?

Monday, January 21, 2013 15:15

The following states passed marijuana legislation in November of 2012:

  • Massachusetts – Medical marijuana legalized and regulated
  • Colorado and Washington – Recreational marijuana legalized and regulated

Contrary to much discussion, this does not mean that employers in these states must now permit marijuana usage by their workforces. Employers still may have and enforce drug testing and usage prohibition policies. Massachusetts and Colorado legislation specifically addresses this issue:


“Nothing in this law requires any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of employment, school bus or on school grounds, in any youth center, in any correctional facility, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.”


“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.”

Keep in mind that federal law, which prohibits the use of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, trumps state law. Additionally, if employers are subject to federal guidelines for testing such as those propounded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, state law provisions for testing or accommodation are preempted.

For additional information, contact PWA at

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