by The Real Dirt | Dec 7, 2021 | Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Industry News, Legalization, Medical Marijuana, Science & Technology
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) say they are in favor of a White House proposal to streamline the process of researching Schedule I drugs like marijuana and certain psychedelics.
The agencies testified at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on Thursday, expressing support for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) research plan. While the focus of the meeting was mostly on a controversial move to strictly classify fentanyl-related substances, the Biden administration proposal’s research components would also help address concerns within the scientific community about the difficulty of studying other Schedule I drugs.
DEA said in written testimony that “expanding access to Schedule I research is a critical part of DEA’s mission to protect public safety and health.”
“It is critical that the scientific and medical community study Schedule I substances, as some may turn out to have therapeutic value,” DEA Principal Deputy Administrator Louis Milione said. “DEA supports the administration’s legislative proposal’s expansion of access to Schedule I research. DEA looks forward to continuing to work with the research community and our interagency partners to facilitate Schedule I research.”
In general, what the administration is proposing is to align the research requirements for Schedule I drugs with those of less-restricted Schedule II drugs. Scientists and lawmakers have consistently pointed out that the existing rules for studying Schedule I controlled substances are excessively burdensome, limiting vital research.
Rather than having each scientist involved in a Schedule I drug study obtain DEA registration, ONDCP wants to make it so multiple researchers at a given institution would be allowed to participate under a single registration. The administration also proposed a policy change where a research institute with studies taking place over multiple locations would only require one overall registration instead of needing to have a specific one for each site.
Another change would allow certain researchers to move ahead with conducting their studies after submitting a notification to the Department of Justice instead of waiting for officials to affirmatively sign off on their proposals. ONDCP’s plan would also waive the requirement for additional inspections at research sites in some circumstances and allow researchers to manufacture small amounts of drugs without obtaining separate registrations. The latter component would not allow cultivation of marijuana, however.
by Travis C | Oct 28, 2021 | Blog, Cannabis Law, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Cannabis News, Legalization
New York will be one of the first states in country to prevent public and private businesses from discriminating based on cannabis usage.
With cannabis now legal for recreational use in New York, employers and employees are wondering how the new law will impact cannabis use and work. It is extremely common for a business to drug test a potential new hire.
These tests can check for a wide range of illicit substances, and almost all of them look for THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. However the New York Department of Labor has released FAQ guidance making clear what employers and would be employees can expect.
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act passed in 2021 legalized the use of recreational marijuana for individuals ages 21 and older. Notably for employers, the law also amended Section 201-d of the New York Labor Law – which prohibits discrimination by an employer against an employee because of certain lawful outside work activities – to include protections for recreational cannabis use.
More specifically, employers are now prohibited from discriminating against employees based on their use of cannabis outside of the workplace, outside of work hours, and where use does not involve the employer’s equipment or property. This change also applies to workplace drug testing with some exceptions.
New York cannabis drug testing changes
As employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against cannabis use by employees outside of the workplace, this includes drug testing for cannabis. However there are three cases in which drug testing for cannabis may still be permitted:
- An employers is required to take such action by state or federal law;
- The employer would otherwise be in violation of federal law or would lose a federal contract or federal funding; or
- The employee, while working, manifests specific articulable symptoms of impairment that either decrease or lessen the employee’s performance or interfere with the employer’s obligation to provide a health and safe workplace.
In the case of the second exception, guidance states that employers may only test an employee for cannabis if a state or federal law requires drug testing or makes it a mandatory requirement of the position. Employers cannot rely upon this exception to test an employee for cannabis merely because it is allowed or not prohibited by law.
To summarize this aspect, employers are in most cases prohibited from discriminating against an employee (i.e. drug testing) for cannabis use outside of the work place. Despite legalization however there are still prohibitions on cannabis use in the workplace.
Cannabis use in the workplace
The guidance released by the NYDOL gives employers broad discretion to prohibit cannabis use in the workplace. In other words, the employer has the choice whether to prohibit it or not.
The employer also has the option to prohibit possession of cannabis on company property, and has the explicit right to prohibit cannabis use under two circumstances:
- Time that an employee is on-call or “expected to be engaged in work;” and
- Time, “including paid and unpaid breaks and meal periods, that the employee is suffered, permitted or expected to be engaged in work, and all time the employee is actually engaged in work.”
Additionally, the NYDOL does not consider an employee’s private residence used for remote work to be a “worksite” within the meaning of the statute. However employers do have the ability to institute policy prohibiting cannabis use during work hours and take action against employees exhibiting impairment, even while an employee is working remotely.
Overall, the new guidelines released by the NYDOL clear up a lot of confusion surrounding cannabis use and workplace testing, and bring ease to many who are looking forward to the new legal access to cannabis in New York, whenever it becomes available.
by Travis C | Jul 16, 2019 | 420, Blog, Cannabis Law and Compliance, Culture
It’s time for drug tests to change. That’s just reality.
Drug tests have probably gotten more innocent cannabis consumers knocked out of the running for a job more than any other drug on the controlled substances list. At a certain point we have to ask, “What is the point?”.
Most commonly, drug tests for employers will test for cannabis, cocaine, phencyclidine, amphetamines and opiates. Now obviously if you have a prescription from your doctor for opiates you’re off the hook, but what about people with prescriptions for cannabis? And a better question, what about those that don’t?
Drug Tests Shouldn’t Include Cannabis
At this point it’s a no brainer. In the United States currently, there are only 10 states out of 50 that haven’t decriminalized or legalized cannabis in some form. With more than half the country having medical cannabis laws on the books, how is it that people can still miss out on job opportunity for cannabis use?
People who take prescribed painkillers that are prone to abuse don’t miss out on job opportunities. Even alcoholics don’t miss out on job opportunities as long as they can cover it up on the job. Yet if you used cannabis once in the last two weeks, with a medical card granted by the state you live in, the job you are applying to can still say no if you show positive on their drug tests.
Now I may not be an expert on fairness, but I think it’s safe to say that just isn’t fair. And it’s even worse for recreational cannabis consumers.
Legal States and Drug Tests
This has been an even hotter topic than medical cannabis users and drug tests as of late. Cannabis is now fully legal in 11 states. A lot of these states passed laws that are meant to regulate cannabis just like alcohol.
So, if cannabis is supposed to be regulated like alcohol, why do cannabis users lose out on job opportunities even in these states, while alcohol consumers have nothing to worry about? People who choose to use cannabis over alcohol, which by all standards is the safer option of the two, are now suffering because of it.
Some states like Nevada have passed laws that prohibit employers from firing employees or not hiring potential employees for testing positive for cannabis on drug tests, and that’s a great start. But it only starts to address the problem. If cannabis is still on the drug test, and potential hire tests positive, the employer legally can’t reject them for that reason. But that doesn’t mean the employer can’t see that information and just decide that the potential hire isn’t right for the position for “some other reason”.
This is why cannabis needs to be removed from cannabis completely, at least in legal and medical cannabis states.
It’s Time for Change
Here’s the bottom line. Nobody should be excluded from job opportunity for the medicine they choose to use legally. Nobody should be excluded from job opportunity based on what they decide to do in their free time in a legal cannabis state.
It’s that simple. If it were any other pharmaceutical drug that was FDA approved and legal on the state level, it wouldn’t be a question. It wouldn’t be on a drug test. Yet cannabis still is. I understand there’s still states that have cannabis completely illegal and states that only have it decriminalized, and people who work in those states need to be aware of their laws.
But if you live in a medical cannabis state or a legal cannabis state, and you lose out on a job because you tested positive for cannabis, that’s just not right, and you should consider taking action.