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Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

3 things to know about cannabis and drug testing in Colorado

Colorado has had medical marijuana laws on the books since 2009, and it legalized the recreational use of the drug way back in 2014.

However, employers and employees still struggle to understand the rules on drug testing in the workplace where cannabis is concerned. Whether you’re an employer or an employee in this state, here are three important things to keep in mind:

Federal law trumps state law when it comes to workers and marijuana

Until marijuana ceases to be illegal under federal law, Colorado employers can prohibit employees from using cannabis and drug test them accordingly. A positive drug test is, therefore, just cause for termination. 

It doesn’t matter that recreational marijuana is legal in this state — nor does it matter if the employee in question has a medical marijuana card and only uses the drug at home.

Employers can still require drug testing after an accident at work

If a worker is involved in an accident, their employer can require a drug test for cannabis. A positive test creates the presumption that the employee caused their own injuries through drug intoxication — and that will halve the wage replacement benefits that they’re due.

This is a significant issue because THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) can remain in a user’s system for weeks after they consume the drug.

Employers cannot institute disparate drug testing policies

Essentially, employers have to be consistent with the way that they apply their drug-testing policies. They can require them at random or across the board, but they cannot “target” certain employees for discriminatory reasons

If you’re in doubt about your company’s drug policies, it may be wise to seek out some legal clarification. 

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