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Navigating cannabis legalization in the workplace


The Chamber recently hosted the latest edition of the 2023 60 Minutes to Success series, focusing on the topic of cannabis in the workplace. The event included a policy overview from attorney Steven Doerdoff of the Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation and a panel discussion moderated by Shari Reaves of O’Reilly Auto Parts and panelists John Throckmorton of Tomo Drug Testing and Elizabeth Wente of Spencer Fane.

The panel discussion revolved around best practices for employers to ensure compliance with cannabis-related laws in the workplace. The panelists emphasized the importance of rapid testing methods, understanding residual results (the duration cannabis remains in the body), key considerations when creating internal policies, managing reasonable suspicion testing, and drawing comparisons to alcohol consumption policies.

To implement immediate changes, the panelists encouraged businesses to set expectations on drug use during the interview process. Inform candidates what your business’s policy is regarding cannabis or drugs in the workplace from the beginning. They also recommended that businesses review their current policies and update them routinely.

Also, panelists discussed using reasonable suspicion testing in the workplace. If employers observe an employee exhibiting physical or emotional concerns, that could indicate that an employee is inhibited. When using reasonable suspicion to detect drug use, it’s important to remember that businesses must document what was observed before sending an employee to be tested for drugs. However, the panelists cautioned the use of reasonable suspicion without proper training.

As the discussion concluded, Shari Reaves stressed to attendees the importance of staying informed and adapting policies accordingly as the landscape continues to evolve.

*The Chamber does not provide legal advice. Additionally, the Chamber does not have a position on the legalization of marijuana. However, the Chamber does support the efforts to designate safety-sensitive positions where the use of THC would be prohibited to mitigate safety concerns and reduce employer liability.

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