NJCRC: Workers can use marijuana on their own time, businesses can have drug-free workplace
The state Cannabis Regulatory Commission has released new guidance about recreational marijuana in the workplace.
The CRC says that workers have the right to use marijuana on their off-time but adds that businesses also have the right to keep a drug-free workplace.
“Employers have the right to maintain a drug-free workplace…Employers may require an employee to undergo a drug test upon reasonable suspicion of an employee’s usage of cannabis or cannabis products…” the CRC wrote in its guidance.
“A drug test alone is not sufficient to support an adverse employment decision but now you can use this framework to develop additional evidence, signs someone is impaired,” says Jeff Brown, executive director of the commission.
The CRC says that employers can look for several signs that could be cause for a mandatory drug test. Signs include glassy eyes, excessive belching, an odor of marijuana or inappropriate wearing of sunglasses.
“They should be noted when they’re uncharacteristic of that person, uncharacteristic of that person’s baseline performance, baseline appearance, baseline behavior,” says Brown.
These signs, plus a positive drug test, could be cause for disciplinary action or termination.
“If they document signs that they believe reasonably show someone is suspected of being impaired, then have more empirical data like a drug test to back that up, that could be an instance that would support an adverse employment decision,” says Brown.
The CRC is planning to set standards for Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert – or WIRES – but that work is still ongoing.
Brown says the CRC estimates about 900,000 people in New Jersey use cannabis.