by donna pryor
When medical marijuana first started to become legal, mine operators responded in a similar way. Most mines continue to have a zero-tolerance policy for both applicants and current employees for several reasons: being on a mine site is inherently safety sensitive; mines are regulated by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and it does not recognize marijuana as a legal drug; and because they’ve always done it that way.
Medical marijuana is now legal in 32 states and the District of Columbia. Although marijuana remains illegal under federal law, state laws and recent court decisions are becoming challenging for employers. In fact, many state medical marijuana laws contain anti-discrimination provisions that provide job protections for medical marijuana users. Companies may now need to reexamine their policies, as there are now five pro-worker court decisions in five separate states that provide legal protections to employees who test positive for marijuana and have a medical marijuana card or prescription.