RED BANK, NJ: Pot is now legal in New Jersey, but that doesn’t mean that workplace rules and drug tests are going away for everyone.

Under federal law marijuana is still illegal. This means that the federal government, federally regulated industries and workplaces that get federal funding or grants that require them to drug test will still test employees for marijuana use.

This includes anyone who has a commercial driver’s license or works in interstate transport in other safety sensitive capacities, anyone employed in aviation, railroads, oil and gas refineries or pipelines, anyone required to carry a firearm in the course of their job, federal employees, employees of federal contractors, and employees of organizations that are funded in whole or in part by federal grants that require drug testing. If you don’t know whether your employer is still required to drug test, ask before you smoke.

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Employers that are not required to continue to test employees for marijuana can still regulate employees’ use of marijuana the same way they can regulate use of alcohol by employees. Employers can prohibit employees from using marijuana on company time or at the workplace just like they can prohibit employees from drinking at work.

Employers can also prohibit employees from working while under the influence of marijuana just like they prohibit employees from working while under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs that impair an employee’s ability to safely perform their job. The same common-sense rules that apply to alcohol apply to marijuana. Don’t use it on company property or on company time and don’t show up for work under the influence.

Remember, if you can’t legally smoke a cigarette in a specific location, you can’t smoke pot there either.  The no smoking laws ban smoking period, not smoking specific substances. Smoking pot is still illegal on Federal property including national parks and sites like Sandy Hook. Driving under the influence of marijuana and driving while smoking is also still illegal.

Think before you smoke and enjoy your new-found freedom responsibly.

This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney client relationship between the author and reader.

Jennifer Meyer-Mahoney provides expert legal advice on employment issues.

Employment practices are the single biggest source of liability for most small businesses. To discuss labor and employment situations, call Jennifer at  732-740-3833, or visit her website by clicking HERE.

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