Vermont AG Issues Weed Law Guidance For The Workplace

Photo Credit: David Goldman

Under certain circumstances, Vermont employers will still be allowed to drug test their workers for marijuana once recreational weed is legalized on July 1, according to guidance released on Thursday by Attorney General T.J. Donovan.

The pot law, known as Act 86, “did not change Vermont’s existing laws strictly regulating when and how employers may drug test,” the guidance reads.

The 17-page document spells out the rights of employers and employees once weed is legalized. The general takeaway? Not much has changed. Donovan’s office said in a press release that it created the guide in response to queries from the business community.

Existing Vermont laws stipulate that employers can’t ask job applicants to take a drug test unless three conditions are met: The employer has already offered an applicant a job, contingent on a negative drug test result; the employer provides a written notice about the drug test; and the drug test is sent to a laboratory approved by the Vermont Department of Health.

Once hired, employees are generally not to be randomly drug tested unless four requirements are met, including probable cause to believe the employee is using drugs on the job.

Employers may still prohibit pot on their premises, and Act 86 can’t be used as a basis for suing an employer with a zero-tolerance cannabis policy.

Existing medical marijuana laws, meanwhile, protect those employees who are patients from discrimination, protections that remain unchanged under Act 86.

And despite legalization in Vermont, the AG’s office warns that cannabis remains illegal on the federal level.