The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act goes into effect on April fifteen, 2011. The Act allows a “qualifying patient” with a “debilitating health-related condition” to obtain a registry identification card on the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). Cardholders are able to get an allowable amount of marijuana from a registered non-profit medical marijuana dispensary and also make use of the marijuana to treat or alleviate certain health conditions. A “qualifying patient” has being diagnosed by, and have written certification from a physician. The Arizona law does not alter marijuana’s health as an illegal drug under federal law.

The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act is currently included in the Arizona laws and regulations as A.R.S. 36 2801 et seq. The ADHS is the designated agency that’s been assigned to develop, adopt and enforce a regulatory system of the division of marijuana for medical use, the setting up of approved dispensaries and the issuance of identification cards.

Just how does the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act impact employers? Employers can’t discriminate against a person in hiring, imposing or terminating some condition or term of employment or perhaps otherwise penalize an individual based on either; (1) the person’s status as being a cardholder, or perhaps (2) a registered qualifying patient’s beneficial drug test for marijuana pieces or even metabolites, unless the patient used, possessed or even was weakened by marijuana on the premises of the location of work or during the days of work.

While only a qualifying patient could use medical marijuana, others can also be cardholders at the mercy of protection from discrimination including (one) the qualifying patient, (two) a designated caregiver or (3) an authorized non profit medical marijuana dispensary agent.

The Act does create 2 limited exceptions to anti discrimination provisions. To begin with, there’s an exception for employers who’d, “lose a monetary or even licensing related reward under federal law or regulations.” Second, an employer is not needed to hire and go on to employ a registered qualifying patient who tests beneficial for marijuana if the patient used the marijuana on the employer’s premises or perhaps during time of employment.

The Act doesn’t allow staff to use marijuana at your office or even during work hours. The Act does not authorize some person to undertake any process under the influence of marijuana that would constitute negligence or even professional malpractice. The Act specifically forbids some person to operate motor vehicles who might be weakened by ample amounts of marijuana components or metabolites. Consequently, employers may still take action against employees that use marijuana in the workplace or even who work under the effect of marijuana.

The majority of you may be thinking about, “Can’t marijuana be recognized in urine tests for a handful of days and also several weeks?” The answer is “yes,” however, the law reads, “the registered qualifying affected person shall not be regarded as being underneath the influence of marijuana solely because of the presence of components or metabolites of marijuana which usually appear in not enough concentration to cause impairment.” A.R.S. 36-2814(A)(3)

So the way does an employer or even the ADHS define impairment? Sad to say, the Act doesn’t define “impairment” or even “under the influence.” Depending on the statute, the simple existence of some degree of components or metabolites of marijuana in the system is just not sufficient. Employers are going to have to end up being more astute at recognizing and documenting behaviors and signals of marijuana impairment.

Luckily, for companies, Arizona based employer organizations including the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, approached the Arizona State Legislature regarding the ambiguous and vague language with regards to “impairment.” This prompted the State House of Representatives to show and successfully pass House Bill 2541 which in turn essentially allows businesses to use similar guidelines that are found in “reasonable suspicion” policies. The bill was delivered to the State Senate for a vote (watch our blog for the outcome).

The best practices approach for any enterprise is usually to have in place a medication and alcohol policy that includes for a minimum “post accident” and “reasonable suspicion” tests. The additional kinds of drug testing include pre-employment and random. Companies need to document any observed conduct, behavior or appearance that is seemingly altering the employee’s job performance or endangering others in the workplace.

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