Missourians will soon be able to consume medical marijuana legally, but the passage of Amendment 2 does not protect employees from potential workplace consequences.
Federally, cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, along with heroin, LSD, ecstasy, meth and peyote, and not legal for medical or recreational use. Federal entities and federally funded entities, even in states that have legalized marijuana, approach the drug with a zero tolerance policy and have an obligation to terminate or discipline workers who test positive for marijuana.
Safety at Hand
St. Joseph Transit receives federal funds and is bound to comply with federal law when it comes to marijuana.
“It’s unlikely that somebody could use medical marijuana legally and still drive for a public transit system,” Transit general manager Mary Gaston said.
The issue is one of safety, according to Gaston.
“Just like alcohol, which is perfectly legal, you can’t drive a bus with alcohol in your system,” Gaston said. “The problem with that may be that unlike alcohol, which leaves your system pretty quickly, marijuana does not.”
Cannabis stays in a person’s system for around 30 days after consumption, according to Sara Gullickson, CEO of cannabis developer and manufacturer Item 9 Labs Corp.
“There’s not really a way to tell whether or not someone is using, unless they’re completely impaired while they’re working,” Gullickson said.