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OverSword

Marijuana Law in the state of Washington

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Below is the text of a PDF sent out by a coworker of mine who is a one star general in the Army reserve.

Drug-Free Workplace, Zero-Tolerance Policies, Drug-Testing Programs, DOT Regulations

ARE NOT Affected by Passage of Washington Initiative 502

Even though Washington citizens recently voted to legalize the use and possession of marijuana,

marijuana use and possession still can cost an employee his or her job. Marijuana is illegal under federal

law. Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. §§ 801-904, marijuana is classified as a

Schedule 1 drug and the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes is prohibited. Federal law

trumps state law. Gonzales v. Raich, 541 U.S. 1 (2005) (federal government has the power to criminalize

marijuana-related conduct even when marijuana was grown and used entirely in a single state). As long

as federal law prohibits the use of marijuana, a state cannot legalize it and require employers to

accommodate such use. I-502 does not create any sort of job protections to marijuana users and

employers in Washington State cannot be required to accommodate recreational use and possession of

marijuana.

The Washington State Medical Use of Marijuana Act (MUMA), RCW 69.51A, permits health care

professionals to authorize marijuana use in limited circumstances, and provides an affirmative defense to

a state criminal charge. The law does not legalize marijuana and does not confer any employment

protections to medical marijuana users. MUMA relieved an employer from any requirement to

accommodate on-site or other medical marijuana use and provided for the establishment of drug-free

workplaces. RCW 69.51A.060.

The Washington State Supreme Court considered whether MUMA conferred employment protection on

users of medical marijuana and held that it DID NOT. Roe v. TeleTech, 171 Wn.2d 736 (2011). Roe

established clearly that an employee using medical marijuana pursuant to MUMA can be discharged for

use of marijuana in contravention of an employer’s policies. There a no cause of action for wrongful

discharge or employment discrimination under MUMA.

I-502 will not affect current Washington employers’ Zero-Tolerance Policies and Drug-Free Workplaces,

nor will it affect current drug-testing programs in workplaces. DOT-regulated employers must continue

to comply with DOT regulations on drug and alcohol testing for safety-sensitive transportation

employees.

What Should Employers Do?

Employers should review their policies addressing use and possession of illegal drugs, and amend such

policies to specifically state that marijuana use and possession is not tolerated and that the “illegal” in the

prohibition of illegal drugs refers to federal law.

Many employees may be dazed and confused at what impact, if any, Washington’s new pot law will have

in the workplace. Employers should communicate directly in writing to current employees and applicants

what affect, if any, the new law will have on the existing policies. Employers should reiterate their

commitment to a drug and alcohol-free workplace and that they will continue to test employees consistent

with the employer’s written policies.

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A lot of companies that drug test are also testing for alcohol at the same time even though it's legal. He'll, some companies with giant sticks up their asses even est for nicotine. Anyway, I think the reasoning is that if you fail an alcohol test you're an idiot. You gotta Tay clean for only about a day. Unfortunately though marijuana stays in your system for much longer even if you are not a chronic user so legal or not you probably just shouldn't smoke it if a job is testing which is also unfortunate because you can be a drunk and pass a test but you can't be a casual smoker, or eater if you like, and that sucks because there are far more functioning stoners than there are functional drunks and many companies hire the wrong guy just because of the tests. On the other hand it's impossible to know wether someone was stoned last night or during the test.

Edited by -Mr_Fess-
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It's illegal for me to turn up to work with alcohol in my system and alcohol is perfectly legal. It's illegal for me to smoke on work grounds, despite it being legal to smoke.

I honestly see no problem with them saying "it's legal in the state, but if you turn up to work stoned, you're fired".

Edited by Wearer of Hats
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It's illegal for me to turn up to work with alcohol in my system and alcohol is perfectly legal. It's illegal for me to smoke on work grounds, despite it being legal to smoke.

I honestly see no problem with them saying "it's legal in the state, but if you turn up to work stoned, you're fired".

That's not what theyre saying. If you have partaken of marajuana for about 30 days you will test positive. It does not specify being stoned when the test is given it specifies use.

I do believe they can tell if you are currently under the influence by testing you blood but workplace testing is usually a urinalysis.

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I'm a well-functioning alcoholic, and I'm very successful. I know I couldn't be a well-functioning stoner, lol. It affects people differently, ya know? I mean, I have a buddy who's a well-functioning stoner and has a very successful carpentry business, so it works both ways. But most other people that have remained stoners after highschool in my town are still working in fast food places and haven't really achieved much more in life.

I gotta say, I'm in my 40's and know people who have smoked pretty much every day since high school and they are not flipping burgers by any means. It sounds like you just know some losers that would be losers no matter what. I don't personally smoke but I know of stoners that work at microsoft designing the software you're using. Edited by OverSword
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That's not what theyre saying. If you have partaken of marajuana for about 30 days you will test positive. It does not specify being stoned when the test is given it specifies use.

I do believe they can tell if you are currently under the influence by testing you blood but workplace testing is usually a urinalysis.

if its the employers testing the employees, then who is testing the employers? And what happens after the christmas party or annual work do, is everyone exempt for 30 days from being tested?

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At a mine up north that a friend worked at, as soon as you set foot on company property you had to blindly grab a ping pong ball out of a bucket. If it was white you went to work, blue - tested for alcohol, red - tested for drugs.

Another friend who worked on a gas-line had to line up with 30 other guys to take a breath analyzer for alcohol every morning. Chances are if you drank more than 4 beers the night before you were going to lose your job.

It's my opinion that since so many mines have introduced mandatory to hire drug testing as well as random testing it's actually increased cocaine use because it passes through your system so much faster than marijuana.

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I was wondering how it was going to affect certain jobs...

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It's illegal for me to turn up to work with alcohol in my system and alcohol is perfectly legal. It's illegal for me to smoke on work grounds, despite it being legal to smoke.

I honestly see no problem with them saying "it's legal in the state, but if you turn up to work stoned, you're fired".

showing up stoned to work and having marijuana in your system are two different things. If you have one joint, it will show up on a drug test for up to 7 weeks...

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At a mine up north that a friend worked at, as soon as you set foot on company property you had to blindly grab a ping pong ball out of a bucket. If it was white you went to work, blue - tested for alcohol, red - tested for drugs.

Another friend who worked on a gas-line had to line up with 30 other guys to take a breath analyzer for alcohol every morning. Chances are if you drank more than 4 beers the night before you were going to lose your job.

It's my opinion that since so many mines have introduced mandatory to hire drug testing as well as random testing it's actually increased cocaine use because it passes through your system so much faster than marijuana.

We have the same problem in the refineries and oil sands here. Employees with work three weeks on, have a week off, then go back to work.

During that week they can't smoke pot since they can be randomly tested for drugs when they get back. So they just do a bunch of cocaine.

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well i think some on would be responsible enough to know not to use something that could ruin their career but hey look at nick diaz.

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Several years ago, I had a job were I just started working at a air conditioning manufacturing facility. But it always had a high rate of turnover and I found out the reason why sometime later. In my first year of working there, two people wrecked their forklifts. One guy drove his forklift right through the building wall (I kid you not), just like you've probably seen in a A-TEAM episode. So when each forklift driver was tested for drugs, they found loads of THC in their system and of course they were fired. And there were others through the years, when I worked there, who finally got caught through either random drug testing or some had some other kind of accident that got'em caught.

Anyway...didn't work there long, got too damn dangerous and the pay sucked anyway. And I thought to myself: It's no frigin' wonder they drug test people.

Edit: Also wanted say: So I don't blame employers for drug testing and laying down the rules about it, even if it's finally legal all over the United States; State or Federal. From what I've seen, they got a good damn reason for being strict about it.

Edited by Purifier

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There's too many "grey areas" with marijuana law. I won't get into my beliefs about it being legal or good or not, or my experiences, but I will say if they are going to let the doctors prescribe the stuff, then it should work like any prescription.

When you work at a plant or factory or (I guess) anywhere else where they drug test and you're on, say pain management, and turn up positive for opiate narcotics, they just say "It's ok if you have a prescription for it, just bring it in for verification.", and everything's fine.

Should be the same way for herb, if they are going to let them prescribe it.

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I meant for MEDICAL and about it just being in your system. Obviously if someone is wrecking forklifts, or visibly intoxicated on the job, there should be problems (problems keeping your job) expected, anywhere.

But even if it is legal for recreational purposes, that's not surprising, to not have job protection. When I was in Medical Billing, I had to stop smoking cigarettes because the hospital I was going for externship, wouldn't hire smokers and tested for nicotine. They say it's for a healthier workplace, blah, blah. The truth is, they get big discounts on their insurance packages they can offer to employees for having smoke free environments and bigger discounts for smokER free environments.

I dont believe in controling what people put into their bodies outside of work, and if it were up to me, I'd drug test them with a coordination/reflex-time test instead. If they can pass that, they aren't a danger, due to it.

It's all about the money they save, really.

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