Now that a medical marijuana dispensary is officially open for business in Tucson, local employers are taking a second look at their workforce drug policies.
Southern Arizona Integrated Therapies, near East Broadway Boulevard and North Kolb Road, began filling prescriptions on Tuesday.
Now some local business owners have two concerns: The health and well-being of their employees who use marijuana for medical issues, and the risk of being sued.
Ryan Horn of University Termite and Pest Control employs more than 20 people. Many of them drive service units.
"If you get into a car accident in a company vehicle, our drug policy states you have to go down and get tested," Horn said.
Drug tests will reveal whether an employee has been using pot – a problem for those who use it legally.
Horn has changed his drug policy to include rules for using medical marijuana.
"We're not going to discriminate against you if you do need to carry a card, however you can't be using while you're working," Horn said.
Employment law attorney Michael Boreale said businesses should get specific about workplace goals in case pot hurts performance.
"If an employee with a medical marijuana card fails a random drug test, they can't be terminated simply for that," Boreale said.
"Have very clearly defined position descriptions and expectations for their employees so that if an employee was found to be under the influence, they could clearly note which areas they were deficient in based off their drug use."
Boreale says businesses like University Termite and Pest Control can legally fire drivers found with pot in their system.
Still, Horn says there's a gray area, so he's opening the lines of communication with his employees.
"The folks who sign off on it, sign off on it," Horn said. "The folks who want to discuss it further, we can close the doors and discuss it further and go from there."
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