Lawmaker: Protect employers from medical marijuana law
Rep. Kimberly Yee, R-PhoenixState Rep. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, is sponsoring a bill she says would give employers more flexibility to deal with employees who might be using medical marijuana.

PHOENIX – Now that Arizona voters have approved the use of medical marijuana, employers need new ways to deal with employees who are impaired for any reason, a state lawmaker said Tuesday. “Employers were left with their hands tied because they didn’t know what to do when it came to dealing with impaired workers who came to the workplace,” Rep. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, told the House Committee on Employment and Regulatory Affairs.

Yee authored a bill, HB 2541, that would give employers the right to reassign or put on leave someone who works in a “safety-sensitive” position if they have a “good-faith belief” that person has used or intends to use a legal or illegal drug that causes impairment.

This judgment could be based on a drug test, though the bill’s definitions of good faith include observed conduct, lawful video surveillance or “information reported by a person believed to be reliable.”

Businesses would have immunity from litigation when taking any of the actions covered by the measure.

The committee endorsed the bill on 6-2 vote despite concerns raised by dissenters and even some who voted in favor that the bill could grant employers too much power at the expense of employees’ rights.

Rep. Sally Gonzales, D-Tucson, who dissented, called the measure overly broad.

“I believe it gives too much power to employers and not enough to the employee,” she said.

Rep. Daniel Patterson, D-Tucson, who also dissented, objected to the language shielding employers from litigation. “I think we should only be doing that in very limited circumstances,” he said.

David A. Seldon, an attorney who crafted the bill on behalf of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the measure is necessary for employers who want to make sure workplaces are safe and also comply with the medical marijuana law.

“Before, most employers who had a drug policy would have a no-tolerance policy, so if someone tested positive, that was all they needed,” Selden said. “Now, with the medical marijuana act, there’s a new increases in terms of impairment, so we needed some tools to look at employees who were on the job who were behaving in a manner that would suggest impairment.”

Rep. Bob Robson, R-Chandler, the committee’s chairman, said he’s worried about the bill’s immunity guarantees for employers but said it’s important to help employers deal with a complicated situation.

“I think, with all things said, this creates and understanding between employer and employee of what is right and wrong,” he said.

(9) comments

Camulos

I wonder why certain 'altering' drugs like xanax, prozac, et cetera, are not tested for, or allowed because they are 'legally prescribed', though they are "mood altering" and/or "mind altering" substances? How about cold medicines that have warning labels?

I say save the test until there is a problem rather than pre-determining people's capabilities.

$0.02

Lancaster

you know if you smoke today 3 weeks from now you will still show dirty on a drug test how are they gonna fix that

Darch1

Camulos, with all respect, there are some occupations where "problems" could be life or death or permanent maiming of self or others. Freedom is an awesome and excellent privilege, but it requires due personal responsibility. I agree with you that there are prescribed mind-altering substances that should be considered when determining someone's "fitness for duty," and I know that some of those occupations I am thinking of do also agree with you both in theory and practice.

lakesider

It's no different than any other legal or illegal drug. OSHA has rules on supervisors or business owners and making a reasonable suspicion determination. Yes, you can get a DUI while on prescription drugs, drink mouthwash, or NyQuil for that matter.
Not much changes...

che guevara

Mind and mood altering drugs are all around us, in fact most of us partake of these on a daily basis. The first one that comes to mind if coffee in the morning , next are the soda pops that Arizonans seem to drink in copius amounts, then tobacco and sugared products and especially chocolate, one of the most potent mind / mood altering drugs known to man. Then of course the mind / mood altering prescription poisons that only further deteriorate the minds and bodies of those who have been fooled into using them . I haven't even touched on alcohol , one of the most toxic substances legally available , and one of the most deadly as well . How about the Fluoride that is added to approximately 67 % of the nation's municipal water supplies and added to most toothpastes ? Fluoride is a known poison that is the primary ingredient in all rat poisons and is the industrial waste of aluminum production . The dangers of this substance have been nown since the 1920 s and it's long term ingestion has scientifically been proven to not only be toxic but, to also lower an individual's IQ by at least 10 points . Talk about " impairment " that is marketed as being good for your teeth , read the warning on your tube of fluoridated toothpaste . Ever wonder why kids in school can't concentrate for very long and can't seem to sit still and listen , let alone actually learn ? Maybe it has something to do with the sugar laden and poisoned breakfast foods (?) that they are fed and even the prescriptions that the medical establishment is hell bent on getting them hooked on at a young age. And of course the fluoridated toothpaste to "protect" their teeth after consuming all the toxic garbage that is sadly passed off as being food . Since we are on the topic of toxins and substances that cause impairment , we can't forget the fast food industry that is probably responsible for more deaths per capita than the plague. To make matters worse they heavily market this garbage to children and to an uneducated and gullible adult public . The stupid vacant looks on many faces you encounter in public places is a testament to the covert and crafty poisoning of much of the population by socially acceptable means. Therefore ,it seems to me that most people are showing up at their places of employment (should they be so lucky) or at school or elsewhere under the influence of some sort of mind and/or mood altering substance . The result being impairment or enhancement of ability . Why then would there be such a concern over the controlled use of medical marijuana ? This is a natural substance that has a multitude of medicinal benefits that might actually help rather than harm and offer a sensible alternative to the poisons pushed on the public by the P -harmeucital companies. This is not to say that I am an advocate of the potheads and derelicts , I most certainly am not . However , medical marijuana may very well be an industry on the cutting edge of holistic health and mind - body balance . I think that we all need to worry more about the crap that is slipped into the food supply and the poisons that are palmed off as medical prescriptions than we do about an herb that mankind has used for thousands of years with great success.

Camulos

Yeah! What che said!!

[thumbup]

Camulos

I suppose I could clarify my point:

I once worked for a man who ran a company that conducts drug tests. The obvious results were clean, keep job, dirty, lose job.

The problem was that he was on a bucket-load of mid-altering prescriptions that affected his mood, temper, personality AND job performance on a regular basis (okay, daily). Though he tested positive for each substance (as they related to the 'bad 7'), he had a prescription and kept his job. Meanwhile, good employees were being let go after every test, just because they smoked pot on their own time.

I am of the opinion that prescription or no, if it is the idea of a 'mind-altering substance' that is the 'problem', then ALL mind-altering substances should be included in the 'let go' process.

Either that, or leave the testing alone unless it can be proved that the mind-altering substance is directly related to a problem in the workplace (accident/injury/damaged products, et cetera - the same reasons many companies use for conducting employee tests after hiring).

And for the record, some mind-altrering substances make an easier (more obvious) case than others (cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, heroin, prozac, the oxies, and so on).

BadBobtheAlbino

Che the Pinko Commie,
I believe they are talking about scheduled drugs. Soda, tobacco, and coffe are not in that catagory. But of course you will attempt to convence everyone you are right just like you pretending to not be an in your face anti american communist!

che guevara

Big Bad Bobby , your ignorance is equalled only by the hideousness of your picture. Are you some sort of albino drag queen masquerading as a cowgirl? Get a life ! It has been painfully apparent that your intellect is simply not capable of even the most minute degree of exchanges in ideas , thoughts or observations. The good news for you Big Bad Booby is that your March edition of Soldier of Fortune magazine should be waiting in your P.O. Box . While you are at it, crack open a can of lite beer and fry up some spam (in margarine) and put it on white bread , then take out your can of Top tobacco and roll yourself up a few. Perhaps these white (albino) trash indulgences will take that caustic edge off ... for a while anyhow.

P.S. That black chapeau and duster look real smart . Loser !

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