Because of the recent legalization of certain edibles and beverages infused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), now is the time for Minnesota employers to take a close look at their drug and alcohol use and testing policies and procedures.
In case you missed it, the Minnesota Legislature quietly legalized these sales in a move that surprised many. For more information about how this happened and what the law means in general, check out:
- Clearing up confusion about Minnesota’s newest legalized THC edible (MPR, July 6, 2022)
- THC edibles, beverages now legal in Minnesota as new law goes into effect (CBS Minnesota, July 1, 2022)
- Some THC products are now legal in Minnesota. Here’s what you need to know (StarTribune, July 1, 2022)
- Minnesota Inadvertently Allows Unregulated Intoxicating Cannabis Edible Products (National Law Review, July 6, 2022)
It is reasonable to predict that more Minnesotans will now be feeling the effects of these newly legalized products. Which means that more Minnesotans might show up at work under the influence.
So, what’s an employer to do?
- Recognize that these products will likely be considered “lawful consumable products” under Minnesota’s Lawful Consumable Products Act (Minn. Stat. § 181.938). This means that under Minnesota law, an employer “may not refuse to hire a job applicant or discipline or discharge an employee because the applicant or employee engages in or has engaged in the use or enjoyment of” these newly legalized edibles, “if the use or enjoyment takes place off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours.”
- Know that these laws do not allow employees to be under the influence of THC at work, nor do they allow employees to consume these edibles at work. Therefore, employers should review and revise their policies and procedures to reflect expectations and consequences.
- Don’t forget about remote workers. The ease of access to edibles, combined with the relative seclusion of working from home, could lead to more instances of at-home workers being under the influence. Make sure your remote work policies, procedures, and agreements reflect organizational expectations and consequences.
- Don’t forget about commercial (CDL) drivers and other employees who are subject to federal laws that do not allow this consumption.
- Know that drug and alcohol testing laws are very complicated in Minnesota. The Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act (MDATWA) sets strict standards for when and how testing may be done, for the notices that must be given to employees, and for many other facets of testing. Drug and alcohol testing policies and practices should not be implemented without input from competent legal counsel.
Our attorneys are available to help you re-evaluate your drug and alcohol use and testing policies and procedures. Please contact us for more information and advice.
Disclaimer: This memo is for general informational purposes. It is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For legal advice about your specific situation, please contact us.