Recreational marijuana could impact private companies’ drug policies

Posted: Updated:

What would legal recreational marijuana use mean to companies that drug test their employees?

New Jersey lawmakers are still considering a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the Garden State. But some businesses, like Edison Heating and Cooling, drug test their employees upon hiring.

Owner Michael Iarrapino says that his employees are tested when they are hired and if they get into an auto accident while on the job. He says that he worries how legal marijuana use would impact his business.

“Marijuana stays in your system for 30 days. So if, God forbid, one of our employees had recreational marijuana on the weekend and he gets in an accident in a company truck three or four days later, he's going to test positive,” Iarrapino says.

RELATED: Mayor Fulop: Distribution convictions should be expunged if weed is legalized
RELATED: Bill to legalize recreational marijuana passes legislative committee
RELATED: State lawmakers unveil legislation to legalize marijuana in NJ

Iarrapino says that he is also worried about company liability and higher insurance rates if more people use marijuana more often when it becomes legal.

“This business has more than 80 employees who drive company vehicles on service calls,” he says.

Employers in other states where marijuana is legal are grappling with the same issues. Some have opted out of drug tests for marijuana.

“On the other hand some employers have stayed with a zero tolerance policy because under federal law marijuana is still very much illegal,” says attorney and Rutgers University assistance professor James Cooney.

Cooney says that certain jobs, especially ones requiring employees to operate vehicles or equipment, may remain subject to testing.

Iarrapino says the he will seek legal advice when the time comes, but says that he wants to keep a zero tolerance policy.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."