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Marijuana in Washington to be Regulated Like Alcohol - Is this Fair?

Is it legal or is it not? Right now it doesn’t matter to employers, who are free to make employees and potential employees pass a drug test to obtain or keep their jobs in accordance with "company policies."


In a meeting where thousands were in attendance, the Liquor Control Board was available to make and take suggestions in Seattle late this January 2013. According to state and federal laws, the Liquor Board will have to regulate marijuana like alcohol. But this raises questions about the legality of blood or urine testing in workplaces, especially with regard to what will be legal for employers to have employees tested for, even if they have their own “company culture” that is anti-drug. To wit, unless the company is also anti-alcohol, having to pass a drug test for marijuana could become a thing of the past, at least for employers in Washington State.

But with more freedom—so to speak—comes more regulation. Liquor board member Brian Smith noted, “Think of it in the same kind of way when it comes to marijuana. You’re going to have marijuana-only stores. We’ll be going in there and checking out those types of things. We’ll be checking out growth operations.”
The entire situation brings endless questions to the fore, and not just for lawmakers and liquor board members, who are sure to have their hands full in the coming months with the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington. One group with questions are employees and job seekers—they want to know—if it’s legal to own, smoke, and possess marijuana where I live, how can it be that I would still have to pass a drug test or random urine test for my boss? Only time will tell what will remain legal for employers to test for, but with plenty of grey area surrounding Fourth Amendment rights with respect to drug testing already hotly debated, chances are, drug testing is on its way out.
Until then, what will those in the midst of pre-employment do to safeguard themselves in s a geographic location where the law says pot is legal but employers disagree? It is true that companies can have their own internal regulation about drug use and testing, so for now, it’s safe to say many in control of hiring and firing will still be making decisions based on employees and prospective employees being able to pass a drug test in order to land—or keep their jobs. 


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