As Massachusetts Inches Toward Retail Marijuana, Employers Ponder Drug Tests
Massachusetts voters legalized marijuana at the ballot box in 2016, and retail sales are poised to begin on or about July 1. But there still isn’t much guidance coming from state officials about how businesses should deal with drug testing their employees when it comes to pot.
Katie Johnston, a reporter for the Boston Globe, recently looked into what some Massachusetts companies are doing. She said they face a dilemma if they do stop testing for marijuana.
Katie Johnston: It’s still illegal on the federal level, so there could be possible ramifications there. And also if they have safety-sensitive positions that they need to keep testing for to make sure people don’t get hurt, is it fair to keep testing them and not other groups of employees — say office workers or something like that?
And then if they don’t stop testing, will they lose workers who just go to other companies who have stopped? And in this tight labor market that’s the big dilemma, because you don’t want to lose workers. And then there’s a possibility that if you don’t stop testing you could face claims from people who say the tests are discriminatory, or lawsuits from people who…are using it for medical reasons, and say that they have a right to do so. So it’s a whole can of worms, really.
Adam Frenier, NEPR: Focusing in on that safety issue — there’s no test right now that can tell if somebody is under the influence of marijuana, let’s say, during working hours or whatnot. How much is that complicating things? Obviously there’s other substances that you can test for pretty immediately.
Right. And there are things in the works and I have heard from several companies who are developing — I think it’s like a breathalyzer that they