SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There is a cloud around many marijuana questions now that recreational use is legal in California, especially when it comes to employee and employer relationships and the boundaries between work and home.

“You can see here it tests for THC which is the active ingredient in marijuana,” Jeff Hastings owns the ARCpoint Lab franchise in Sacramento.

He knows drugs and he knows how to test them.

The business conducts drug tests for police and about 700 other employers. Some of which say they’re struggling to find clean employees.

“I think a lot of marijuana smokers are going to have the false impression of, oh, well now I can come to work stoned,” said Hastings.

They can’t, even with legal recreational marijuana.

“The freedom to do something outside the workplace does not translate to freedom within the workplace,” said Barbara Cotter.

She is an attorney with Cook Brown LLP. They specialize in employer law.

“The employer has the right to say we want productivity at work. We want a safe workplace and were not going to allow anyone under the influence of any intoxicating drugs or substances in the workplace,” explained Cotter.

But there is a legal gray area. “Under the influence” and “in one’s system” are two different things, and both can get you fired.

“A big part of the misunderstanding or problems that is out there is that folks don’t understand the difference of presence in system and intoxication,” said Hastings.

Marijuana is stored in fat cells and can remain in a person’s body for weeks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that person is impaired.

“We need the research that is going to tell us, OK, what is the level where you are under the influence,” explained Hastings.

Prop 64 doesn’t address this issue. Employers and police especially, have no way of separating the two, which is unlike alcohol where the lines are clear.

“There is no analog for .08 with marijuana. Nobody knows what that number would be,” said Hastings.

Prop 64 does direct $3 million a year from the eventual tax revenue to the California highway patrol to research and determine what will be the legal limit for marijuana. It’s a process that is still being worked out in Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.

Comments (5)
  1. If the concern is truly one of impairment people need to quit looking for a drinking alcohol duplicate. Even if one is possible why is being cannabis addled at work more special than the hundreds of other ways to show up for work impaired? Does the average employer really want to have 237 different tests, with specific protocols for each? Impairment testing is possible and will identify the truly dangerous people. That isn’t someone who smoked a joint at a concert last Friday. Employers need to get their priorities in order.

    When it comes to driving people need to quit worrying about cannabis because the Alzheimer’s patients are coming, but no one seems worried about that. My dad died from Alzheimer’s so I got to watch it first hand. The first baby boomers are turning 71 this year, and there is going to be carnage and mayhem on the highways if people don’t figure out where the real danger is starting to manifest itself.

  2. Laughable nonsense. As an employer I worry far more about booze and pharmaceutical drug consumption amongst staff. Both are far more dangerous than cannabis. Alcohol consumption causes more sick and lost days from work than any other cause including legitimate illness.

  3. MJ Index: 20 U.S. based marijuana stocks ranging from microcap to large cap.
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  4. I would have no problem firing loser potheads who bring their disgusting habit to work.
    So many young people no longer have any shame about their drug addictions. Thanks to the cartels, the pot you smoke today, is 2-3 times stronger than what the baby-boomers did in the ’60’s.

  5. Another misleading article. How come they cant get it right? Current drug tests detect THC-COOH. A metabolite which stays in the system not the THC which causes the high. What idiot thinks there are amass amount of other idiots who think they can get high at work now? I am sure there are a few who will claim ignorance and say “i thought it was legal now” but they are full of it. No one actually believes this law means they can be high at work.

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