Career Tech Corner: Pre-employment Drug Tests and Recreational Marijuana

Career Tech Corner: Pre-employment Drug Tests and Recreational Marijuana

 

Last year in Ohio, recreational marijuana was authorized by initiative petition.  The state is still in the process of creating a regulatory process that will allow marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana in addition to medical marijuana.  This is currently predicted to be rolled out in fall 2024. 

 Does your CTC have a pre-employment drug testing policy?  CTC education, occurring in lab and sometimes offsite environments differs in many respects from traditional school districts.  This includes unique risks regularly encountered in lab programs.  Due to some of those unique risks, which include operating heavy equipment, managing volatile compounds, working with sharp objects, and much more, ensuring safety for staff and students is paramount. 

 The law on medical marijuana reinforces an Ohio employer’s right to prohibit the use of marijuana and require a drug-free workplace.  None of the language enacted with the medical marijuana law has changed at this point as it relates to the recreational sale of marijuana. 

 Marijuana is still a Schedule I prohibited substance at the federal level, but there is reason to believe this may change in the near future.  In August 2023, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended that marijuana be reclassified from a Schedule I prohibited substance to Schedule III.  This was taken under advisement by the Drug and Alcohol Enforcement Agency (DEA).   In January 2024, a group of senators petitioned the Biden administration to remove it as a scheduled substance altogether.  While this seems unlikely, it is possible that a change in how marijuana is classified at the federal level could happen in the near future.  Changing the schedule of marijuana would affect interstate commerce, and production, and may affect how employers may enforce workplace rules.

 In order to ensure that potential CTC employees are able to effectively supervise, use, and teach career-technical programming involving labs and heavy equipment, they must not be under the influence of prohibited substances.  Pre-employment drug testing sends a message of the expectations of the employer and provides an initial assurance that the employee is not a current user of prohibited substances.  It may result in some self-selection as candidates may not apply if they are recreational or medical users of marijuana.

 There are some special considerations and inherent risks for career technical education in terms of labs and programs offered, and as such, may merit consideration of a pre-employment drug testing policy.  Contact the EB CTC practice team if you would like to discuss this.