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Arizona Employees and Medical Marijuana

As greater numbers of states throughout the country continue to advance marijuana legalization efforts, employees often find themselves between a rock and a hard place, legally speaking. Here in Arizona, it seems as though it is only a matter of time before the drug receives some form of widespread legalization, as legislators regularly introduce legislation to that effect.. However, even in states where the drug is legal, employers may not treat employees who use the drug legally in a fair way.

Here in Arizona, we are one of only a handful of states that maintain laws protecting medical marijuana users from discrimination in the workplace, but that may not keep an employer from discriminatory practices anyway. In many instances, employees applying for jobs must sign drug-free workplace policies intended to cede their rights to medical marijuana to the employer, or an employer may simply fire or otherwise punish an employee who legally uses the drug under the state-level exemptions.

Herein lies the strange conflict that an employer conducting random drug testing presents. The nature of marijuana is such that traces of it may still remain present in an individual’s bloodstream for more than a month, and any employee who fails a drug test may also forfeit his or her job because of it, despite the fact that the effects of the drug are long gone. In contrast, an employee who shows up to work with a hangover may be unfit to work, but may still pass a drug test.

If you face discrimination at your workplace because of medical marijuana use, you should carefully consider your legal options. If your employer violated Arizona’s employee protections, you may have grounds to take a number of legal accounts to defend your rights and your position with your employer.

Source: Greenstate.com, “Workplace discrimination against California medical cannabis patients may end,” David Downs, accessed March 16, 2018

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