Amendment 64: Are drug-free businesses actually required to have drug tests?

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Since Colorado voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana, there have been concerns about contradictions that now exist between state and federal laws -- including a contentious debate about workplace regulation. One Denver CEO told us that legal pot will make it hard for him to hire people, because he has to maintain a drug-free environment. But an A64 backer tells us that many employers are misguided -- and that businesses don't have to do drug testing.

Last week Jeffrey Popiel, president and CEO of a Denver-based company called Geotech, which manufactures and sells environmental equipment, told us that his biggest concern with the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol measure is that he'll have to turn away candidates for jobs, because even though state law says they can now smoke, it doesn't change policies at his company.

Jeffrey Popiel.JPG
Sam Levin
Jeffrey Popiel
Just like the potential conflict that could exist if the federal government chooses to enforce marijuana laws in Colorado, Popiel said that 64 doesn't change his requirements to certify a drug-free workplace. This is essential to his company, which employs about a hundred people, he explained, because he contracts with public municipalities, including the federal government.

After we published our interview with Popiel, we heard from Christian Sederberg, an attorney and advisor to the 64 campaign, who says that businesses like Geotech don't understand the law. Popiel, however, isn't buying it.

According to Sederberg, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988makes it clear that having a "drug-free workplace" does not mean businesses have to actually do drug tests on potential employees or current employees.

From the United States Department of Labor's FAQ page on the law:

Is drug testing required or authorized under these regulations?

The Act and these rules neither require nor authorize drug testing. The legislative history of the Drug-Free Workplace Act indicates that Congress did not intend to impose any additional requirements beyond those set forth in the Act. Specifically, the legislative history precludes the imposition of drug testing of employees as part of the implementation of the Act. At the same time, these rules in no way preclude employers from conducting drug testing programs in response to government requirements (e.g., Department of Transportation or Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules) or on their own independent legal authority.

Basically, there is no legal stipulation that a business do drug testing, and a business owner could change policy in response to the passage of 64, says Sederberg, a founding partner with the law firm Vicente Sederberg LLC. His colleague, Brian Vicente, was one of the amendment's main proponents, and Sederberg also helped on the campaign and was on the drafting committee for 64.

"I don't think people are being intentionally misleading, I just think they don't know," says Sederberg. "We ran the campaign, so it's our job to continue the education process."

He says that questions about drug-testing requirements are one of several misguided concerns from the business community -- one which he discussed in the months leading up to Election Day and will continue to try and clarify going forward.

"The act itself is silent on drug testing," he says. "If you look at the...history, it's clear that this was not intended to require testing."

It's a debate that has come up in the context of medical marijuana. "It's really been an interesting discussion," he notes.

Companies ultimately make their own specific policies related to the certification of drug-free workplaces, Sederberg adds: "Employers in Colorado are free to reevaluate those polices."

Continue reading for response from Popiel, who argues that there's no way around drug testing.


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41 comments
420_All_Day
420_All_Day

I think it's a shame that in today's world a person can lose their job and livelihood from smoking a simple marijuana joint. This is why when ever I have a drug test I visit these guys:

http://www.passdrugtestsfast.com

The customer service is great! Their products are reasonably priced and their products work if you use them correctly.

dale
dale

We simply no longer test for pot at our office. 

stevebeast
stevebeast

I think we could solve this problem real easily. QUIT DOING BUSINESS WITH COMPANIES THAT DO DRUG TESTING. mock them, shun them, and drive them from our city,

tutonehcc
tutonehcc topcommenter

For all the weenie womper nay sayers, there will be private cannabis smoking lounges, large grows are right around the corner, tourists from anywhere in the world will be able to purchase and use cannabis.  Here is the video of last nights marijuana business symposium: 

 

http://youtu.be/u1Ohyryq5Y8 

CoreyDonahue
CoreyDonahue

(6) Employers, driving, minors and control of property.             (a) NOTHING IN THIS SECTION IS INTENDED TO REQUIRE AN EMPLOYER TO PERMIT OR ACCOMMODATE THE USE, CONSUMPTION, POSSESSION, TRANSFER, DISPLAY, TRANSPORTATION, SALE OR GROWING OF MARIJUANA IN THE WORKPLACE OR TO AFFECT THE ABILITY OF EMPLOYERS TO HAVE POLICIES RESTRICTING THE USE OF MARIJUANA BY EMPLOYEES.Here is the language of the Amendment.  So, it is your right to have your employer to determin your right.  Is that what you people think is freedom?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

So Stoners -- would you actually want your Pilot or Surgeon to be high on the job?

 

HipTip: Colorado is an "at will" employment law state, which means that employers can fire or hire anyone for any* reason or no reason if they desire. They can also set whatever employment standards they desire.

 

Why hire a clueless semi-literate stoner-slacker when there are sooooo many better qualified sober candidates for the job? ... same goes for lowlife tobacco addicts, who need them?

 

* excepting the constitutionally protected categories of race, religion, national origin, etc.

.

 

wtfk
wtfk

"We are required to have a system in place to have a drug-free workplace," says Popiel. "If you say you have a drug-free workplace and you don't test at all, how can you say you have a drug-free workplace?"

 

Umm...IN THE WORKPLACE? Just because someone HAD it in their body RECENTLY doesn't mean it's in the workplace. Either search your workers for the substances in question (NOT preferred) or make them assert (an affidavit) they they will not have it in the workplace.

 

One more reminder--the cannabis test does not test for cannabis--it tests for "metabolites." Thus, testing positive does not mean they had it in their system when tested.

wtfk
wtfk

So, it sounds like the smart thing to do is only test for the drugs that "matter" or don't test at all, perhaps unless there's a performance issue (but performance should be reason enough for action by itself, without going there.)

oshuncommunity
oshuncommunity

Ugh. Come on. This guy is gutless. ---- I'm sure someone commented on the statement where he wonders (paraphrased) 'if drug tests could exclude weed'. That, for a ton of obvious reasons is one of the dumbest things I will read today.

 

Do whatever you want business man. All you have to do is put up a sign that says, 'We test for weed and all other 'drugs' randomly.' ---- That's your right as a business owner. 

 

Even though it's a dick move. That's your right as a business owner. And if you're still worried, you can move. That's also your right.

hippie19623
hippie19623

Take a look at the insurance companies.these are the people that have made mandatory Drug testing .thay know that a larg majority of the people smoke pot or take a pill that was not perscribed to them. the insurance companies are making millions of dollars off of this and put it in the pocket

wtfk
wtfk

 @stevebeast Good luck with that. Most think the feds require it, and you probably aren't going to change their minds with threats of a boycott.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @stevebeast So you only buying your groceries from the corner convenience store now?

 

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@tutonehcc"tourists from anywhere in the world will be able to purchase and use cannabis."

 

They can purchase and use marijuana now ... in their home town ... like they've been doing forever. No need to travel 1000s of miles just to purchase a pathetic ounce.

 

 

 @tutonehcc   "there will be private cannabis smoking lounges"

 

They exist now -- in Parents' basements all across the U$A!

 

hth.

 

wtfk
wtfk

 @CoreyDonahue In a word, Yes. Contracts are a meeting of the minds. This means you can have your requirements for being employed, and they can have their requirements for employing you. Fortunately, we're in a state that respects that.

wtfk
wtfk

 @DonkeyHotay Good thing someone who occasionally enjoys pot isn't necessarily a stoner and isn't necessarily partaking on the job. I'm not paranoid about it, as you apparently are.

tutonehcc
tutonehcc topcommenter

 @DonkeyHotay I would not have a problem with my surgeon being high on the job, as far as the pilot being high on the job, it's a bit of a pun not intended....

tutonehcc
tutonehcc topcommenter

 @DonkeyHotay In the 90's I traveled to Colorado because I heard the cannabis was really good.  I moved here shortly after because it is my favorite place to smoke pot and get high.  I'm sure I'm not alone.  People from all over the world want to come to Colorado and smoke some high quality mountain grown cannabis that they've always heard about and now can legally purchase and enjoy!  Let's all get high and have fun!

tutonehcc
tutonehcc topcommenter

 @CoreyDonahue Rob Corry explains that A64 does in fact allow for Industrial Hemp large scale operations.  The amendment says that any cannabis with less than 3% THC isn't considered marijuana at all, thus industrial hemp isn't marijuana. 

tutonehcc
tutonehcc topcommenter

 @CoreyDonahue you should really watch the video, I live streamed this last night, and then converted it to youTube for again all the naysayers to watch and hear what's really going on

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @wtfk  @CoreyDonahue 

 

In Colorado, employees slave away at the will of their employers.

 

The Employer can fire them for any reason, or no reason, at any time.

 

hth.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @tutonehcc " I would not have a problem with my surgeon being high on the job"

 

Explains much about your current condition.

.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @wtfk 

 

Still waiting for you to tell us how Surrendering Total Control of Marijuana to BIG GOVERNMENT Regulators, leaving 99.9% of CRIMINAL Prohibitions against Marijuana in State Law, and adding $40,000,000.00+ in NEW TAXES fits "principled" Libertarian Policy ... or even unprincipled Libertarian policy.

 

Be specific, and show your work.

 

LOL!

wtfk
wtfk

 @DonkeyHotay  Please cite any lack of principle in the post. It points out that corporations do the government's bidding, without really questioning, when it comes to how they treat their workers. I'm sorry you're unable to grasp that.

chris
chris

 @DonkeyHotay  @tutonehcc This is going to be awesome! I'm so proud of our state. No coincidence that our state song is "Rocky Mountain High"!

Love Love Love

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @tutonehcc "In the 90's I traveled to Colorado because I heard the cannabis was really good."

 

You should have kept going to the Golden Triangle in California.

 

You = the best reason to know that marijuana "tourism" won't happen.

 

 

 

 

zach_furns
zach_furns

@DonkeyHotay So you really like bashing on Colorado residents in general don't you? Calling a majority of us idiots, fools, and stupid stoners doesn't do much for you. Honestly it just makes select people want to find you to show how things go when you run your mouth and throw everyone under the same stereotype.

Kevins_Mom
Kevins_Mom

@tutonehcc @CoreyDonahue Rob Corey? lol

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @CoreyDonahue  @tutonehcc 

 

A64 = written by idiots, for fools and tools too stupid to read, much less comprehend what it proposed.

 

 

CoreyDonahue
CoreyDonahue

 @tutonehcc (j) NOT LATER THAN JULY 1, 2014, THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SHALL ENACT LEGISLATION GOVERNING THE CULTIVATION, PROCESSING AND SALE OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP.The state has to enact legislation regarding hemp.  And the proponents said, ¨we hope they don´t outlaw hemp cultivation, but yes this language allows them to outlaw hemp cultivation.¨ Rob was not at the meeting he does not know what he is talking about he is just looking to make a buck.

CoreyDonahue
CoreyDonahue

 @tutonehcc You should have been in all the meeting that the proponents had with the State of Colorado, the Supreme Court Challanges to A64 or just read it and then you would know what´s going on.  I don´t need people to blow smoke up my ass I read and understand what A64 says and does.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @wtfk  So stoners can QUIT if they don't like their employer's drug policy.

 

Ain't freedom great?

 

.

wtfk
wtfk

 @DonkeyHotay  ...and yes, supporting that is also a principled libertarian position.

wtfk
wtfk

 @DonkeyHotay  Just like the employee can leave for any reason, or no reason, at any time. It's a contract of equals. I'm sorry you suck.

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