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420 with CNW – Consuming Legal Marijuana in Massachusetts Could Still Get You Fired

In one of the ironies surrounding recreational marijuana, anyone who tests positive for the substance can legally be fired even if state law permits the consumption of cannabis by adults. Several employers polled in Massachusetts admitted that they would continue random drugs tests. They cite a number of reasons for this.

First, many employers revealed that testing employees and firing those who test positive for the metabolites of THC helps those employers to pay lower insurance premiums. This is especially true for companies that involve the use of heavy machinery. Lower premiums mean more savings for company owners.

Secondly, employers are concerned about the safety of their customers. For example, would you be comfortable allowing someone who is under the influence of cannabis to service your pool at home?

Another reason given by employers who insist that they will continue testing their employees for drugs (and making hiring decisions based on the test results) is that those employers have a duty to ensure that their employees are safe at the workplace. Maintaining a drug-free work environment is one of the ways to protect employees from many avoidable hazards.

However, recruiters say those who conduct pre-employment drug testing are increasingly becoming the minority among employers in the state. This is because such a procedure tends to eliminate a significant fraction of job applicants because marijuana is widely consumed ever since it became legal.

Mayo Clinic reveals that anyone who consumes marijuana just once can have the metabolites of the substance in their urine for up to three days. The duration within which these metabolites can be detected increases based on how often one consumes cannabis. For instance, daily users peak at more than 30 days within which cannabis can be detected after the last time they consumed the substance.

The law legalizing marijuana in Massachusetts calls on employers to implement reasonable protections for employees who have a medical marijuana card issued by the state. Those are the only employees who may escape punitive action if they tested positive for THC metabolites during pre-employment screening or random testing once they are on the job.

But, why is there such a contradiction in the law? Federal law takes precedence over state law on many employment issues, such as the laws regarding an employer’s liability for the welfare of his or her employees. Consequently, state law permits people to consume recreational marijuana but leaves the door open for employers to take action against workers who test positive and create risks for the company.

These contradictions will only end once the federal government finally decides to legalize marijuana. How far off will that be? Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP), Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTC: MCOA) and other industry players can’t wait to see the end of prohibition at the federal level.

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