Our most recent blog post “Can I Bring My Bong to Work Now?” raised a lot of questions relating to marijuana use in the workplace in light of the recent passage of proposal 1. To respond to those questions and to learn more about best practices for workplace drug testing, we interviewed an expert in the field. Bridget Lorenz Lemberg, is the Founder and Toxicologist at Forensic Fluids Laboratories. Here are some of the questions we asked:
- What do you think employers should do since the passage of the proposal to legalize recreational marijuana use?
BLL: Make certain that their drug testing policies are in place, especially when reasonable suspicion is involved. Train leaders to document behaviors when they see them and test when they think something is wrong.
- Do you still recommend pre-employment testing?
BLL: Yes. Pre-employment testing will find the chronic users. For recreational users it’s more of an IQ test. It tells you if they are smart enough not to use marijuana prior to the test.
- At what other times do you recommend that employers drug test?
BLL: Any time that there is reasonable suspicion. Drug use is a leading cause of workplace incidents so HR professionals will want to make certain that employees aren’t impaired by illegal or prescription drugs that impact their safety at work.
- Why does Michigan spell “marihuana” wrong?
BLL: The terms marijuana and marihuana are actually street terms. The actual scientific name is: Delta Nine Tetrahydrocannabinol.
- Other than offering brownies, how can a lay person tell if an employee is impaired by marijuana?
BLL: Some signs include bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils. My best advice is to observe the employee and then ask yourself “Would I let this person drive me in a car?” If the answer is no, have them tested.
- If an employee is tested after an accident, could he/she test positive from prior use, but not be under the influence at the time of the accident?
BLL: Possibly, but only if the employee is a chronic user. For oral fluid and urine tests, recreational users will have a clear drug test after no more than a few days. Chances are if your employee has a positive drug test after an accident, drug use was a factor.
- I have to ask; do you like brownies?
BLL: I love eating brownies and enjoy baking them.
Forensic Fluids Laboratories was founded in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2005 by Lemberg, a pioneer in the development of oral fluid testing techniques in the United States. For more information, visit ForensicFluids.com
Is your handbook up to date with the latest drug testing requirements? HRM encourages employers to update their handbooks annually. When was the last time you updated yours? If you need assistance updating your policies, let us know. HRM is here to help!