The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act goes into effect on April fifteen, 2011. The Act enables a “qualifying patient” with a “debilitating medical condition” to reach a registry identification card on the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Cardholders can obtain an allowable amount of marijuana from a registered non profit medical marijuana dispensary and make use of the marijuana for treating or even alleviate certain health conditions. A “qualifying patient” has being diagnosed by, and also get written certification originating from a physician. The Arizona law doesn’t alter marijuana’s condition as an illegal drug under federal law.
The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is now included in the Arizona laws as A.R.S. 36-2801 et seq. The ADHS is the designated agency that has been given to generate, follow and enforce a regulatory system of the distribution of marijuana for healthcare use, the setting up of approved dispensaries and the issuance of identification cards.
Just how does the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act affect employers? Employers cannot discriminate against a person in hiring, terminating or imposing some condition or term of employment or otherwise penalize a person according to either; (one) the individuals status as being a cardholder, or even (2) a registered qualifying patient’s positive drug test for marijuana pieces or perhaps metabolites, unless the affected person used, possessed or even was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the location of employment or during the time of work.
While only a qualifying individual can use medical marijuana, other people can also be cardholders subject to protection from discrimination including (one) the qualifying patient, (two) a designated caregiver or (three) an authorized non-profit medical marijuana dispensary representative.
The Act does create 2 limited exceptions to anti discrimination provisions. First, there is an exception for employers who would, “lose a monetary or even licensing associated benefit under federal law or even regulations.” Second, an employer isn’t necessary to hire and go on to make use of a registered qualifying patient who tests beneficial for marijuana in case the patient used the marijuana on the employer’s premises or even during time of employment.
The Act does not allow personnel to make use of marijuana at the workplace or during work hours. The Act doesn’t authorize some individual to undertake any task under the effect of marijuana that would constitute negligence or even professional malpractice. The Act specifically forbids any person to operate motor vehicles who may be damaged by sufficient volumes of marijuana components or perhaps metabolites. As a result, employers may really take action against employees which use marijuana in your office or even who are working under the effect of marijuana.
Many of you may be thinking about, “Can’t marijuana be identified in urine tests for several days as well as several weeks?” The answer is “yes,” however, the law reads, “the authorized qualifying affected person shan’t be regarded as being under the effect of marijuana solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of marijuana which appear in inadequate concentration to cause impairment.” A.R.S. 36-2814(A)(3)
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So just how does the ADHS or an employer define impairment? Unfortunately, the Act doesn’t define “impairment” or even “under the influence.” Depending on the statute, the mere presence of some degree of components or metabolites of marijuana in the device is not enough. Employers will have to become much more astute at recognizing and documenting signals and behaviors of marijuana impairment.
Fortunately, for employers, Arizona based employer organizations like the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, approached the Arizona State Legislature regarding the vague and ambiguous language concerning “impairment.” This prompted the State House of Representatives to present and successfully pass House Bill 2541 which generally allows businesses to use similar guidelines that are found in “reasonable suspicion” policies. The bill has been sent to the State Senate for a vote (watch our blog for the outcome).
The best practices approach for any business is usually to have in place a drug and alcohol policy that includes with a minimum “post accident” and “reasonable suspicion” testing. The other kinds of drug testing include random and pre-employment. Companies have to document any observed conduct, behavior or perhaps appearance which is seemingly changing the employee’s endangering others or job performance in the workplace.