New Medical Marijuana Law Assists Arizona Employers

Arizona has amended a state law that could protect employers from legal liability for disciplining employees under the influence of medical marijuana and prescription drugs while on the job. House Bill (HB) 2541 provides some needed clarification about what constitutes “under the influence” of marijuana. Employers needed this clarification because the Arizona medical marijuana law states employers could not rely on a positive drug test to prove an employee was “under the influence.”

HB 2541 does not amend the medical marijuana law. Instead, the bill amends Arizona Revised Statute 23-493, et seq., which shields an employer from legal liability if the employer’s drug testing policy complies with the requirements of the statute and the employer acts in good faith. The amendment defines “impairment” with specificity and includes changes in speech, walking or physical ability, irrational or unusual behavior, and disregard of workplace safety.
HB 2541 also helps employers in two other ways. The bill defines good faith on the part of the employer and allows employers to take action to exclude an employee from safety-sensitive positions based on the employer’s good faith belief that their current legal drug use could cause impairment or adversely affect the employee’s job performance.