Employment Update: Marijuana Still Schedule 1
From the desk of John M. Kreutzer: On August 11, 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) denied two petitions to reschedule marijuana to remove it from Schedule I – entirely illegal – of the Controlled Substances Act. Therefore, marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law, and employers do not have to make changes to their substance abuse policies, regardless of state law.
Neither Oregon or Washington’s laws legalizing recreational marijuana require that employers allow employees to be under the influence of marijuana at the workplace. This is because marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Oregon and Washington’s employers can choose to enforce zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies in compliance with federal law, or they can relax those policies and still be in compliance with state law.
Additionally, Oregon and Washington follow the ADA in excluding current users of illegal drugs from the definition of “disabled persons” and employers are not required to accommodate an employee’s use of medical marijuana. Employers may hold an employee who engages in the illegal use of drugs to the same qualification standards for employment, or job performance and behavior, as other employees, including when the unsatisfactory performance or behavior is related to drug use.
For more information on the DEA’s announcement – https://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2016/hq081116.shtml
Employment updates are intended to inform our clients and others about legal matters of current interest. They are not intended as legal advice. Readers should not act upon the information contained in this article without seeking professional counsel.
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