National Security Council Endorses Zero Tolerance Prohibition on Cannabis/Marijuana for Security-Sensitive Staff


The National Security Council released a policy statement endorsing employer zero-tolerance policies for cannabis use for workers who perform in security-sensitive positions, explaining that no level of cannabis is secure.

In contrast to a test for Blood Alcohol Content material, testing benefits for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) metabolites (the psychoactive elements of cannabis) do not straight demonstrate employee impairment.  Constructive tests for cannabis can reflect previous usage by an employee who is not impaired.  For the reason that the science has not however designed a test which can surely show cannabis impairment, various legal frameworks presume impairment from optimistic drug test benefits.  Employers have raised the query of what “levels” of marijuana metabolites are “safe” for workers at perform and on duty, and how most effective to address optimistic drug test benefits.  The National Security Council (NSC), a respected national physique of security specialists, released a policy statement on October 21, 2019 addressing cannabis concerns.

Right after acknowledging that the quantity of THC detectable in the physique does not straight correlate to a degree of impairment, the NSC advises employers that it is unsafe to be beneath the influence of cannabis even though operating in a security sensitive position.  “Safety-sensitive” refers to positions exactly where drug impairment can drastically jeopardize the security of the employee, co-workers, or third parties.  The NSC explains that any level of cannabis in the technique should really be unacceptable, as it leads to an elevated threat of injury or death to the employee and other people.

In assistance of its contention that employers should really have a zero-tolerance policy for workers in security-sensitive positions, the NSC cites a National Institute of Drug Abuse study that identified that workers who tested optimistic for cannabis had:

  • 85% a lot more injuries
  • 55% a lot more industrial incidents and
  • 75% larger absenteeism price.

The NSC additional cites an Insurance coverage Institute for Highway Security study that identified a five.two% raise in the price of crashes post-cannabis legalization in 3 states as compared to prior to legalization.

In its policy statement, the NSC additional recommends assigning workers to non-security sensitive positions when they use marijuana for healthcare factors, as a mandatory accommodation.

As a group of security specialists, the NSC’s main concern is employee security.  The organization’s suggestions may possibly conflict with applicable laws or may possibly call for extra nuance and refinement.  Employers should really seek advice from with legal counsel prior to implementing the NSC’s suggestions to guarantee compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, state cannabis laws, and other federal and state guidelines.

For a lot more data on this or any connected subject please speak to the authors, your Seyfarth lawyer, or any member of the Workplace Security and Overall health (OSHA/MSHA), Cannabis Law Practice, or Workplace Policies and Handbooks Teams.


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