Seyfarth Synopsis: In the first six months of 2021, several states legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes, including New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and New Mexico.  States show no signs of slowing down.  On June 22, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed a bill that legalized recreational marijuana use by adults 21 years and older.  Although provisions relating to possession are effective now (as of July 1, 2021), the employment-related provisions are not effective until July 1, 2022.  Because the new law will prohibit many employers from taking certain actions in the absence of clear policies addressing marijuana use or evidence of impairment, Connecticut employers that do not have written drug and alcohol testing policies should consider developing them in the near future and those companies that have policies in place should review and, if necessary, revise their current drug and alcohol testing policies.  In addition, all employers should consider training their managers on making reasonable suspicion determinations.

Can employers still maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace?

Yes.  Employers do not have to tolerate employees being under the influence of marijuana while they are working and they may prohibit employees from using and possessing marijuana during work hours and while performing their job duties or on company premises.  However, employers still must be mindful of the state law protections currently available to medical marijuana users including, among other things, not taking adverse action or otherwise discriminating against someone based solely on their status as a qualifying medical marijuana patient or their possession of medical marijuana.


Continue Reading Connecticut Becomes the 20th Jurisdiction to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Seyfarth Synopsis: On June 25, 2021, concluding that Iowa’s comprehensive drug testing statute requires employers to “substantially” comply with its mandates, the Iowa Supreme Court issued two separate decisions finding that employers violated the statute after terminating employees in response to failed drug tests. The decisions serve as important reminders to employers to ensure their

Seyfarth Synopsis: An American athlete has been suspended for one month for testing positive for marijuana and violating the Anti-Doping Rule, putting her ability to represent the United States in the Olympic games in jeopardy.

American athlete, Sha’Carri Richardson, set herself apart on June 19, 2021, by winning the 100-meter race in 10.86 seconds at

Recently, when dismissing a job-applicant’s disability discrimination claims brought under California state law, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued two welcome reminders to employers.  First, an employer can condition an offer of employment on the completion of a preemployment drug screen, including a test for marijuana. This is true even

On April 28, 2021, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed Bill No. 200625 which, effective January 1, 2022, prohibits employers from requiring prospective employees to undergo testing for the presence of marijuana as a condition of employment. Currently, only New York City and Nevada have similar drug testing restrictions, but we expect this trend to continue.

Employers are grappling with the wave of marijuana laws sweeping the nation, some of which provide very employee-friendly protections. While no state requires an employer to tolerate employees’ use of marijuana or impairment while they are working, present drug testing methodologies cannot determine whether an employee used marijuana two hours or two weeks ago. That might be changing as companies reportedly are closer to developing technology that will be able to detect recent use, a welcome development for both employers and employees.
Continue Reading Marijuana Breathalyzers: Could New Testing Methods Help Employers And Employees?

In a time where marijuana legalization is rapidly expanding, all employers should reassess their workplace drug testing policies to be sure they are in compliance with existing and soon to be effective state and local laws.  Currently, thirty-three states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have passed laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form. 

While it has been a challenge for employers to keep up with the explosion of medical and recreational marijuana laws spreading across the nation, employers have taken some comfort in that most of these states still grant employers the right to maintain a drug-free workplace and take action against those who test positive for marijuana, including rejecting job applicants testing positive for drugs. Yet, the tide seems to be shifting, with more courts granting pot smokers certain rights and finding that employers are required to comply with federal and state disability laws when confronted with medical marijuana users. Now it seems some jurisdictions are stepping in and granting certain employment protections to off-duty marijuana users.
Continue Reading New York City Bans Pre-Employment Marijuana Tests

While it has been a challenge for employers to keep up with the explosion of medical and recreational marijuana laws spreading across the nation, employers have taken some comfort in that most of these states still grant employers the right to maintain a drug-free workplace and take action against those who test positive for marijuana. Yet, the tide seems to be shifting, with more courts granting pot smokers certain rights and finding that employers are required to comply with federal and state disability laws when confronted with medical marijuana users. Now it seems states and localities are stepping in and granting certain employment protections to recreational marijuana users. As we previously reported here, effective February 1, 2018, Maine became the first state in the country to protect employees and applicants from adverse employment action based on their use of off-duty and off-site marijuana. In fact, because Maine only allows employers to prohibit the use and possession of marijuana “in the workplace” and to “discipline employees who are under the influence of marijuana in the workplace,” non-regulated employers may no longer test job applicants for marijuana and cannot take action against an incumbent employee based solely on a positive test result for marijuana.
Continue Reading NYC One Step Away From Banning Pre-Employment Marijuana Tests

An Arizona federal district court judge entered judgment against Walmart Inc. for terminating the employment of a woman who had been prescribed medical marijuana because it had not established through expert evidence that the employee was impaired by marijuana at work despite high levels of marijuana in the results of her drug test.  Therefore, the