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'Good Faith' Drug Measure Will Help Protect Businesses

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
One of the pending laws passed by the Arizona Legislature and awaiting Gov. Jan Brewer's signature could help protect businesses in the new era of medical marijuana.

When voters approved the use of marijuana for medical conditions last fall, it left business owners with a dilemma.

While individuals now have the right to use marijuana if they are certified by the Arizona Health Department, many companies have anti-drug policies in place, primarily to ensure that they have safe workplaces. Workers who are under the influence of drugs - including marijuana - can be impaired and cause accidents.

Companies often impose either random drug tests or drug testing after an accident to determine whether workers are impaired. But the state's new medical marijuana law says use of the drug cannot be the sole indication of impairment and that companies must prove by other means that the person is impaired.

The new law the governor is considering - HB 2541 - defines impairment and how it can be determined in more detail and provides some "good faith" protections for companies that use impairment criteria to determine disciplinary action, even if it involves someone who is certified to use medical marijuana.

While some workers may want to take advantage of the new marijuana law to treat conditions, the reality is that any drug - legal or not - - can cause impairment. If a workplace accident occurs, it may not be just the impaired worker who is harmed but other employees, too. That needs to be prevented even if it may conflict with the medical marijuana law.

While the new impairment law is unlikely to eliminate all potential legal jeopardy for companies, it is a step forward in helping companies maintain safe workplaces and should be signed by the governor.

Those who would like to contact the governor's office about this legislation or other legislation can do so by calling toll-free at 1-800-253-0883 ( Arizona only ), via fax at 1-602-542-1381 or via email at azgov@az.gov.

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Sun, The (Yuma, AZ)
Copyright: 2011 The Sun
Contact: Submit a letter to the editor - YumaSun
Website: YumaSun
Details: MAP: Media Directory
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