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Medical Marijuana: What Unions Should Know

March 2, 2021

By Ernest B. Orsatti

With medical marijuana being legal in Pennsylvania and many other states, our union clients should keep in mind that marijuana is still illegal under federal law and many unilateral and negotiated drug and alcohol policies prohibit THC metabolites (marijuana byproduct) in employees’ systems. These policies need to be updated to allow for lawful use of medical marijuana except in certain safety sensitive positions.  This can be done by specifically negotiating protections in collective bargaining agreements for medical marijuana users.  Those protections would be that the employer would be prohibited from discriminating against an employee because of their lawful use of medical marijuana and to exclude lawful medical marijuana from the definition of unlawful drugs under the drug and alcohol testing policy.

Certain jobs can lawfully exclude employees who use medical marijuana because of the nature of their jobs, such as those involving working at high levels or working with chemicals. Also, employees with commercial drivers’ licenses may be prohibited from driving a commercial vehicle with THC metabolites in their system above a certain limit. Holders of commercial drivers’ licenses are required to sign authorization forms agreeing to release drug and alcohol test results to a centralized clearing house under 19 CFR 382 Subpart G.

Union counsel should be consulted whenever an issue arises regarding medical marijuana. Contact us online or call (412) 338-1145.

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