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Federal Spending Bill Creates Controversy Over Federal Government’s Position on Medical Marijuana

Buried in the $1.1 trillion federal spending bill for 2015 — which Congress approved last weekend and which President Obama signed into law on December 16, 2014 — is a measure stating that federal funds may not be used by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to prevent certain states from implementing medical marijuana laws.  … Continue Reading

Oregon, Alaska and D.C. Legalize Recreational Marijuana

Voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia approved laws legalizing recreational marijuana yesterday.  Colorado and Washington first passed such laws in 2012. Laws legalizing recreational marijuana reflect a growing acceptance of marijuana use by the American public as well as the federal government’s current position (since mid-2013) not to oppose state laws permitting … Continue Reading

Maine Employers: Submit Feedback on Drug Testing Law by August 15, 2014

The Maine Department of Labor announced July 29, 2014 that it seeks the input of Maine businesses and other organizations regarding the current state law governing drug and alcohol testing in the workplace.  Businesses interested in participating in the survey must contact the department to receive a survey invitation; invitations are limited to one per … Continue Reading

New Minnesota Medical Cannabis Law Protects Employees From Discrimination For Medical Marijuana Use

Minnesota’s new Medical Cannabis Act, signed into law on May 29, 2014, differs from many other state medical marijuana laws in that it narrows the kind of medical cannabis permitted.  It also offers considerable protections to applicants and employees in the workplace. The law does not cover marijuana that can be smoked.  It defines “medical … Continue Reading

West Virginia Mining Employers Must Report Positive Drug and Alcohol Test Results, And Refusals to Test

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed into law March 28, 2014 an amendment to the West Virginia Code requiring mandatory employer reporting to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training (“OMHST”) whenever an applicant or employee, working in a safety-sensitive mining position, tests positive on a drug or alcohol test or … Continue Reading

Bill To Drug Test Pharma Employees Filed In U.S. House of Representatives

A bill introduced February 18, 2014 in the U.S. House of Representatives would require registered manufacturers and distributors of controlled substances identified under the Controlled Substances Act to perform criminal background checks and drug testing for employees with access to controlled substances. The measure, “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2013” (H.R. … Continue Reading

New York Doctors Required to Consult Database Before Prescribing Certain Drugs

Last year New York became the first state to enact a law mandating that doctors and pharmacists track patients’ prescription medication history.  The tracking system, known as I-STOP – Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing – went into full effect on August 27, 2013, and now requires doctors to consult a database of a patient’s prescription … Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Justice Will Not Challenge State Laws Legalizing Marijuana

The U.S. Department of Justice announced August 29, 2013 that it will not challenge state laws recently enacted in Colorado and Washington State legalizing marijuana, as long as those laws do not conflict with certain federal enforcement priorities.  A memorandum to all United States Attorneys across the country from Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole … Continue Reading

Synthetic Drugs Pose Problems In Workplace Drug Testing

To the drugs of abuse commonly plaguing employers, synthetic cannabinoids, such as K2 and Spice, and synthetic cathinodes, often label as “bath salts,” will have to be reckoned with.  Although the overwhelming majority of states have outlawed K2 and Spice, as well as bath salts, according to the National Council on State Legislatures, and although … Continue Reading

Texas Claimants For Unemployment Benefits To Face Drug Testing In Some Occupations

Governor Rick Perry (R) of Texas has approved legislation that will require applicants for unemployment insurance to face state-administered drug tests as a condition of receiving benefits.  S.B. 21 takes effect on September 1, 2013, but it would apply to claims filed with the Texas Workforce Commission beginning February 1, 2014.  In signing the bill … Continue Reading

Washington State Lawmakers In Congress Urge U.S. Attorney General To Respond To States’ Legalization of Marijuana

Washington State’s U.S. Senators, along with five members of the state’s delegation to the House of Representatives, all Democrats, have requested U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to announce the federal government’s position on Washington State’s and Colorado’s legalization of marijuana as soon as possible.  In a letter to Mr. Holder dated June 17, 2013, the … Continue Reading

New Arizona Law Requires Drug Testing Of Taxi and Limousine Drivers

The governor of Arizona signed a law on May 7, 2013 requiring drug testing and criminal background checks for all drivers of livery vehicles, taxis and limousines.  The law requires those who own or lease such vehicles to conduct pre-employment drug testing and criminal background checks on applicants for such driving positions.  After hire, drivers … Continue Reading

Failed Pre-Employment Drug Test May Halt Unemployment Benefits

Flunking a pre-employment drug test could cause South Carolina job applicants to lose unemployment benefits as well as being denied a job. South Carolina legislators are voting on a bill allowing employers who administer pre-employment drug tests to report to state unemployment officials applicants who test positive for illegal drugs or drugs used unlawfully.  Unemployment benefits … Continue Reading
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