Broad cannabis legalization presents new labor & employment challenges

BY Hillary Baca

The broad legalization of cannabis across the country at the state level, combined with federal prohibition, present labor and employment challenges for both mainstream businesses and those operating in the cannabis space.

Major companies in the U.S. are re-thinking and, in some cases, abolishing candidate and employee drug testing. From Amazon to the NBA, we’re seeing large organizations change their stance on drug testing policies as we see more states across the U.S. legalize cannabis for medical and adult-use. For those employers who continue to conduct drug tests on employees and applicants, this raises new questions. What exactly are employers testing for and does the current testing process provide information that actually helps employers? What are the legal risks to drug testing employees for cannabis in light of the trend toward legalization?

While legal frameworks for many aspects of the cannabis industry are still being determined, there are things employers could be doing now to ensure they aren’t caught enforcing antiquated policies or infringing on employee rights and protections.

The next alert from Nixon Peabody’s Cannabis practice will cover drug testing best practices for employers and what employers can be doing today.

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Hillary Baca


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