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Imagine a scenario in which one of your valued employees, located in a state where recreational marijuana use is illegal, suddenly tests positive for tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – the intoxicant of marijuana, following a routine urinalysis conducted in accordance with the company testing policy. When confronted, the employee admits that two weeks earlier, during a ski trip to Colorado, he legally purchased and consumed a marijuana-laced cookie on a single occasion and has not consumed the drug since. Furthermore, you have firsthand knowledge of the trip, and he has documentation of the airfare, lodging, and the cookie purchase.

This is a scenario occurring in many companies across the nation. As the legality of marijuana continues to grow, with more states voting every year to permit its recreational use, there are also increased opportunities for individuals to visit from states where it is prohibited and use the drug without violating the law where it is being consumed.

The illustrated example might well play out under a company policy that stipulates termination of employees who are found to be in violation of a prohibition against “illegal substances.” It begs the question, though, as to whether the use of marijuana in Colorado is a violation of policy. Research indicates that THC can remain in detectable quantities in the urine for weeks following a single use. A positive test does not necessarily mean the employee was under the present influence of marijuana.

Consequently, it is important to work with your company HR officer and legal counsel to develop policies that anticipate and adequately address, then publicize this potential issue before it occurs. You might save yourself the loss of a key employee – and possibly a costly lawsuit as well.

ResultQuest specializes in investigations pertaining to employment. Call us at 713-781-9040 whenever you need forward-thinking professionals to help you anticipate and avoid issues involving employees. It’s Your Move – Make it Count.