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

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.

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Legislation to implement cannabis legalization moves forward in Montana.  Florida’s ballot initiative runs into trouble.  The South Dakota Supreme Court heard oral argument in the lawsuit seeking to overturn legalization.  The NFL won’t test for marijuana

Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, more and more states and localities are either enacting marijuana laws with express employment protections or resolving court cases in favor of marijuana users. Yet, more than a decade ago, the California Supreme Court held in Ross v. RagingWire Telecomm., Inc.,

Employers considering a tolerant attitude towards recreational cannabis in the workplace should consider safety hazards and legal liabilities. 

In the heyday of the two-martini lunch, employers regularly tolerated alcohol in the workplace or employees presumably impaired by alcohol returning to work.  Over the succeeding decades, employers began to concentrate on the business and legal liabilities imposed by drug and alcohol use and impairment in the workplace — including increased absenteeism, mistakes, sexual harassment, workplace violence, and accidents/injuries.  Employers also discovered that their insurance companies claimed exemptions for certain claims if the employee that created the issue had been consuming alcohol at work. As a result, employers largely began to adopt policies that prohibited employees from using or being under the influence of alcohol (and drugs) while at work.  Most employers since have prohibited alcohol and drugs entirely or restricted alcohol to occasional company Christmas parties and social functions.
Continue Reading Weed at Work: Should Employers Expand “Alcohol at Work” to Cover Recreational Cannabis?

Earlier this month, Governor Pritzker signed into law SB 1557, revising the Recreational Cannabis Law to expand permissible marijuana testing and related adverse action.

The Original Legalization Bill As Enacted

The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (410 ILCS 705) (the “Legalization Act”) legalizes recreational cannabis for Illinois adults starting January 1, 2020. The Legalization Act specifically allows Illinois employers to enforce “reasonable zero tolerance or drug free workplace policies, or employment policies concerning drug testing, smoking, consumption, storage, or use of cannabis in the workplace or while on call provided that the policy is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.” The Act also permits employers to prohibit employees from being under the influence of or using cannabis in the employer’s workplace or while on call. Further, the Act (i) allows employers to discipline or terminate an employee who violates the employer’s workplace drug policy, and (ii) specifically insulates employers from liability for disciplining or terminating employees based on the employer’s good faith belief that the employee was either impaired at work (as a result of using cannabis) or under the influence of cannabis while at work.
Continue Reading Illinois Amends Recreational Cannabis Law To Protect Drug Testing By Employers

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?

The National Safety Council released a policy statement endorsing employer zero-tolerance policies for cannabis use for employees who work in safety-sensitive positions, explaining that no level of cannabis is safe.
Continue Reading National Safety Council Endorses Zero Tolerance Prohibition on Cannabis/Marijuana for Safety-Sensitive Employees