A collaborative approach to substance abuse policies

Jan 18, 2024
Written by WR Communications


Effective January 1, 2024, employers are prohibited from discriminating against cannabis use off the job for job applicants. Employers can still perform drug tests based on their policies for employees, and safety-sensitive positions will remain exempt if disclosed before application. This makes it difficult for employers to hire the proper employees and can often cause concerns for overall safety, depending on the job.

This bill does not apply to any safety-sensitive positions for which being under the influence while working presents a substantial risk of death. Safety-sensitive positions must be identified by the employer before the applicant applies for employment. The law does not:

  • prohibit an employer from basing initial hiring decisions on scientifically valid drug screening conducted through methods that do not screen for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites.
  • apply to testing for controlled substances other than pre-employment, such as post-accident testing or testing because of suspicion of impairment or being under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, medications, or other substances; or
  • affect the rights or obligation of an employer to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace, or any other right or obligation of an employer required under federal law or regulation.

The landscape of policies and bills on the topic of substance abuse can be complicated to navigate for employers and companies. We at WR hope to assist you with any of your questions or concerns.

Additional resources:

Our safety team is available to help members improve their safety programs beyond compliance and toward quality safety practices. Contact us at [email protected] or [email protected] to learn more.


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