VERIFY: Marijuana drug testing in the workplace

VERIFY: Drug testing in the workplace

STATEWIDE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Recreational marijuana is legal in Maine -- but people are still turned away from jobs for failing drug tests. We recently spoke with an employer who wasn't happy with the fact that he's had to pass over qualified employees because marijuana showed up in their drug screening. But, should this still be happening? We sent NEWS CENTER's Samantha York to Verify that.

This week Maine's Department of Labor had to send out a release after a newspaper article went viral with conflicting information. So here's the question -- are employers allowed to reject a job candidate for a failed marijuana drug screening? In order to get the information NEWS CENTER spoke to Julie Rabinowitz -- who is the Director of Policy, Operations and Communication for the Department of Labor.
 
"Yes an employer can screen applicants for marijuana use," Rabinowitz said. "If you are recreationally using marijuana, the employer may refuse to hire you based on upon a positive test result."
 
So there it is, cut and dried...YES, employers can drug test you and can refuse you the position for a failed marijuana drug screening. Here's where things get a little confusing....in February of 2018 -- that law no longer stands.Thats because of a paragraph in Maine's marijuana legalization act, which states an employer may not refuse to employ someone 21 years or older solely for using recreational marijuana outside of the workplace. 
 
"If that language does not change -- then the department would recommend at that point that they employer not do drug screenings for maijuana specifically," Rabinowitz said. "There's nothing in the marijuana legalization statute that says that employers can not drug test, what it says is that they can not refuse to hire you for recreational marijuana use."
 

© 2017 WLBZ-TV


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