Originally Posted by Cirquerider
All the above of course are bound by whatever employer policy might prevail surrounding drug use and it's related liability to the employer. I'm not aware of any tolerance for Rx use of any kind that impairs judgement or ability to perform the work safely.
It's going to be interesting to see how all this falls out in the workplace -- I'm afraid it's going to be a mess for a while. From what I've seen, if you are on a Federal site, or a project funded with Fed $$, there's an "alcohol and drug-free policy" in place and enforced. (This includes a significant percentage of the work force out there.) Everything I've read so far suggests that state law in WA or CO won't/can't change that, even if those Fed sites or projects are in those states. I know that public universities in Washington have to continue prohibiting the use of marijuana on campus because of federal funding (whether they choose to enforce closely or not is a different issue), but probably a bigger issue is Fed construction projects. Contractors and subs that work on highway projects, infrasructure upgrades, heavy civil installations, superfund remediations, etc., all tend to have strict alcohol and drug policies in order to continue to work those types of projects. Any employer doing Fed work usually establishes their employment requirements to meet these standards across the board, making no distinction whether each employee is on a Fed funded site or not. I'm not sure if the Feds are driving this, or the insurance companies, but drug testing is generally mandatory at the time of hire, random during the year, and required whenever any incident occurs when damage exceeding a nominal $$ figure happens (I know in some cases this $$ figure is low enough that broken windshields, damaged bumpers, broken light assemblies, etc on a piece of heavy equipment will trigger a drug test.) A positive hit for alcohol or drugs (including marijuana, even if it was obtained and used legally in WA) results in a termination. Where the medical marijuana card plays in this, I don't know. My guess is that it may save the job, but would probably also prohibit the use of any heavy equipment or motorized vehicles of that person, forcing someone that may be a skilled operator to work as a laborer.
There's a lot of people in industry trying to get their arms around this right now. Many, if not most, are NOT anti-marijuana, but acknowledge the enforcement problems that are going to arise beause of testing techniques and how long marijuana stays in the system. It's going to get very interesting very soon.