State Limits Workplace Marijuana Tests | Local News



ALBANY – State officials have issued guidelines advising employees to avoid taking corrective action against employees who simply arrive at work smelling marijuana smoke.

Ministry of Labor guidelines, which follow the state’s decision to legalize possession of recreational pot, advise employers to require a worker to submit to a cannabis test only if federal or state law. State requires drug testing or makes it a mandatory requirement. of the post ”, according to the directive.

The guidelines allow companies to take action against an employee who “exhibits articulable symptoms” of being under the influence of weed while working.

Such symptoms should either decrease the quality of the worker’s performance or interfere with the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace before the employer can take corrective action.

Frank Kerbein, director of human resources at the Business Council of New York State, told CNHI the new guidelines are a setback for employers who have successfully reduced their workers compensation costs through marijuana testing .

“We have employers who have demonstrated reductions in the costs of compensating their workers because they tested cannabis – and now it’s gone,” Kerbein said,

These employers are convinced that the tests resulted in fewer accidents in the workplace, Kerbein noted.

Kerbein said the Business Council urged the Labor Department to list examples of “articulable symptoms” before releasing the guidance, but the agency did not accept the suggestion.

Now, he said, “Employers are going to have to commit to a lot of the training of their supervisors so that they can identify what these symptoms are.”

With an expected increase in the number of drivers under the influence of marijuana, state and local police departments have made efforts to train more officers as skilled drug recognition experts in road tests. used to determine if a person is driving while being stoned.

“It’s a complicated thing to be a drug recognition expert,” Kerbein observed. “And now they’re asking every employer to be a drug recognition expert.”

On another front, the state’s fledgling Cannabis Control Board has issued a stern warning that any retail outlet or “pop-up” store selling items such as containers labeled “free” could be struck down. severe fines for being involved in “illicit” transactions.

“Gifts do not include cases in which cannabis is given at the same time as another transaction or when it is offered or advertised in conjunction with an offer to sell goods or services,” said Tremaine Wright, President from the administration board.

Wright pointed out that no license for recreational pot stores has been issued and that any marijuana currently sold is neither regulated nor tested. “This conduct is illegal and must stop,” she said of efforts to find loopholes in the state’s regulatory system.

His statement came a week after the Plattsburgh Press-Republican reported that a canister store, Grass N Dash, had delayed its scheduled grand opening. The newspaper reported that the store included an amount of cannabis as a free gift when customers paid for a container.

Plattsburgh Mayor Christopher Rosenquist, a proponent of legal marijuana, has said that attempts to “circumvent” regulation by “donating” weed “is not only utterly irresponsible, but is clearly defined by state as illegal. Companies that employ this tactic will likely be reported and prevented from obtaining a retail license in the future. “

The state’s Cannabis Board also released draft regulations allowing the more than 150,000 New Yorkers eligible for medical marijuana to grow up to six plants, indoors or out. outdoors, provided they are out of the reach of persons under the age of 21.

“Home cultivation of medical cannabis will provide certified patients with a cost-effective means of obtaining cannabis through personal cultivation while creating a set of standards governing the conduct and activities of personal cannabis cultivation,” said said Wright, a former state legislator. .


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