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Can Workers In Oregon Still Get Fired For Marijuana Even Though It’s Legal Now?

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drug test testing welfareOregon voters approved marijuana legalization during the 2014 Election. The possession and cultivation provisions of the approved initiative went into effect on July 1, 2015. On October 1, 2015 limited recreational marijuana sales began. It seems like around the election, around July 1st, and especially since October 1st, I’ve been inundated with questions from Oregon readers regarding marijuana and employment based drug testing.

I have been asked quite often ‘can employers still drug test me for marijuana even though it’s legal?’ Sadly, yes they can still drug test you. Federal employment laws trump state employment laws, so as long as marijuana is illegal at the federal level, employers can legally drug test for marijuana. I’m not saying I agree with it, but that’s the current state of things, so be advised.

The more popular question I get is ‘can I be fired for having marijuana in my system, even though marijuana is legal to consume at work?’ Again, sadly, the answer is yes, you can be fired for failing a drug test for marijuana even though it’s legal to consume in Oregon now. Again, I point to federal law. For the same reason that people can drug test you prior to employment, they also can drug test you during employment and don’t have to respect state laws.

My work for the longest time had a zero tolerance policy towards marijuana. On July 1st they sent out an e-mail stating that people could consume marijuana when they aren’t at work, but not prior to coming to work, not on breaks, and not on lunches. ‘Treat it like alcohol,’ the e-mail from HR said. Even with that assurance from my employer, there is still at least one scenario for which I can still be fired. If I am hurt at work, and am required to file an incident report and/or file a worker’s compensation claim, I will be drug tested as part of the process, and if I test positive for marijuana, I will be fired.

So even in Oregon, working for an employer that allows marijuana consumption off work hours, employees can still be fired for a failed drug test. I have received these questions from CDL drivers and potential CDL drivers probably the most. My dad and uncle are CDL drivers, and believe me, they would practically do anything to be able to consume marijuana. But as I’ve pointed out to them, and pointed out to readers that have sent me questions around that topic, CDL drivers are heavily regulated by federal law, and there will always be the looming possibility of a random drug test at work and/or at commercial motor vehicle weigh stations and checkpoints.

Moral of this story is consume wisely, know the risks that you may be taking, and if you are a CDL driver, never, ever consume marijuana if you want to keep your job. Again, I’m not saying any of this should be the way that it is. In fact, I disagree with it strongly. But, I’d hate to see someone think that they are in the clear, just to lose their job and not be able to cover their bills, especially if they have a family.

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23 Comments

  1. There was a case in Oregon in 2009/10 where an employee was fired for MJ in his UA. Even though employee was a registered medical card holder the Oregon State Supreme court ruled against him and for employer’s right to fire, and the reason was…altogether now, it is still illegal in the feds eyes (condensed version of ruling).

  2. It is discrimination, but not of a protected class or status. It is legal unless your state or other smaller entities pass laws/legislation to protect those who partake.

    Also ‘our bible’ is your religious text, not the official text of the U.S.A.

    Please either cite exactly what supports your case, or better yet, just go read them.

  3. Michael Fontaine on

    …hell the best source is plain ol common sense. Anybody refute the info presented herein…??? Didn’t think so.

  4. if anyone demands a test to see if you are a cannabis consumer, that is discrimination, and discrimination of this kind according to our constitution and bill of rights and out Bible, that kind of discrimination is criminal
    no wonder the usa is in the financial and moral ruin it is in

  5. if insurance companies do not wish to honor all insurers, that tells a lot of the problem right there, those insurance companies should be shuttered for participating in high treason, which makes them all criminals

  6. Until federal law changes were all screwed. so legalization is more important than ever

  7. Johnny, I believe that even after the repeal of federal prohibition, employers who choose to do so will still be able to demand a drug test for cannabis. Right now, if an employer chooses to do so, he or she can fire an employee for legal activities, including legal consumption of alcohol. We have to hope that they will be smart enough to realize that doing so is a waste of money and denies the employer valuable employees, but they can be stupid if they want to.

  8. Well, if it creates an insurance risk, yeah, they probably will. Smh

    After all they can fire you for expresding your opinion off work, off property & when NOT representing the company.

  9. There are certain things which a court will never hear because they threaten the entire Controlled Substances Act.

    This drug testing issue also applies to several other aspects of discrimination…for instance, they can use it as a window to check your hormone levels to make sure its your piss…that can tell them things about diseases.

  10. One day they will fire you because you had too much bad cholesterol in your system instead of because you didn’t do a decent job

  11. Not that I am a fan of lawyers with a few exceptions like you Johnny. I am looking forward to when this gets tested in court and it will, hopefully it’s the right time and place and by a very good lawyer.

  12. Discrimination
    federal laws trump state laws
    Constitutional law trumps High Treasonous federal warmongering hate laws, tailored to hate the substance that Jesus used “Kanehbos”, it’s in the Septuagint – may those who enjoy warring and imprisoning cannabis users hang in no peace, with a courts approval for their high treason

    3rd paragraph second sentence shows that they are guilty of the crime of high treason, so why are not people doing something about that?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_treason

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0bH6Z_OSp8

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