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From: RobRyan
Sent on: Saturday, April 12, 2014 9:19 AM

Article below was in today’s USA Today on workplace issues with a comment from Rachel Gillette,Colorado NORML J , with a classic long hair tie dye image L


Good comment by Rachel, I wish it was in the beginning of the article than at the very end.



Thank You,




Rob Ryan, President

Miami Valley NORML

[address removed]  937-TOP-HEMP

Working to legalize marijuana in Ohio

Serving the Greater  Cincinnati & Dayton area


Now is the time to act and end marijuana prohibition.





In Colorado and Washington, the legal-marijuana experiment wafts uncomfortably into the office.

Trevor Hughes  @TrevorHughes USA TODAY


DENVER Last month, Colorado diner owner Mark Rose posted an unusual job description: “Looking for part time experienced breakfast cook. Pays well, must be friendly and a team player, could turn into a full time gig by summer. 420 friendly a must.”


With that public declaration, Rose put himself squarely in the camp of employers acknowledging that marijuana use is perfectly legal in Colorado. Perhaps more significant, it also puts him in the camp of employers who officially don’t care if their employees use pot off-duty. The phrase “420” is shorthand for someone who uses marijuana.


Rose owns Dot’s Diner on the Mountain in the pot-friendly mountain town of Nederland, Colo., just west of Boulder. He says he wanted to hire a marijuana-friendly employee to ensure he didn’t have to deal with someone who might complain about his own pot use.


Legalized marijuana in Colorado and Washington state is sparking new conflicts between employers trying to maintain drug-free workplaces and workers who say they’re being punished for their off-duty indulgences. Nearly half the states now legalize some sort of marijuana use, either for medical purposes or purely for fun.


“I imagine there will be a great deal of upheaval in the future,” says Curtis Graves, a staff attorney with the Mountain States Employers Council, which advises companies on workplace issues. He added, “The v STORY CONTINUES ON 2B


“Employers have total power in this arena. At this point, the employer can do anything they want to do.”


Curtis Graves, staff attorney with the Mountain States Employers Council law is going to be in flux for another 10 years.”


Twenty states now permit the use of marijuana for medical reasons, but employers in those states are under no legal obligation to allow any kind of pot use in the workplace.


Colorado has a law that says workers cannot be fired for legal activities while off duty, but the state’s courts also have said marijuana use isn’t lawful because the federal government considers it an illegal drug.


The result: More employers are testing workers before hiring and continuing random drug tests, says Tiffany Baker, co-owner of the Denver DNA and Drug Center, which provides employers with drug-testing services.


“I think big companies were already testing anyway,” she says. “I think small companies are … now more likely to send their workers over.”


“Employers have total power in this arena,” Graves says. “At this point, the employer can do anything they want to do.”


In Washington state, which is still developing its retail marijuana system, there’s been little change, says Jenifer Lambert, a vice president of the employment agency Terra Staffing Group, which places about 5,000 workers a year. She says manufacturers and companies that work in federally regulated areas such as interstate commerce and aerospace continue to test job applicants for drug use. Only one of about 500 companies that Terra works with has relaxed its rules.


Lambert says she expects to see increasing conflicts as marijuana becomes more socially acceptable. She says it’s ironic because workers rarely complain about a smoke-free workplace that bans cigarette use.


At the same time, she says, some prospective workers are smoking themselves into a corner by using legal marijuana. She says the company doesn’t track how many prospective employees are failing drug tests but says there’s an increase of people admitting they won’t pass.


“It’s sort of a Wild West scenario. It’s very, very tricky,” Lambert says. “I feel badly when someone comes to us and doesn’t understand the implication of their pot smoking.”


Office manager Dawn Owens, 47, knows all too well what would happen if she got caught using marijuana to ease her migraines. Instead, she takes prescription drugs because those are allowed, even though she feels far less able to work effectively.


“It would literally take two to three puffs off a joint and my headache would be gone within one to two minutes,” Owens says. “But instead, I’ll be taking a Vicodin, which will render me useless for much of the day,” she says.


She says it’s hypocritical of employers to permit prescription drug use and to tolerate or even encourage after-work drinking but bar workers from using legal marijuana.


“You can hire a raging alcoholic that can pass a test because they haven’t had a drink in 24 hours and you can hire someone who abuses prescription drugs because they were able to get a prescription for it, but if someone smokes a joint on a weekend they can’t get a job because they can’t pass the drug test,” she says.


Employers increasingly will have to ask themselves whether they need to shift from testing solely for the presence of marijuana to a test that checks for impairment, says Leslie Miller, deputy counsel for the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation. He says manufacturers are cautious about making any changes that could reduce worker safety. But they also must acknowledge that workers who use marijuana on their own time — on vacation, for instance — aren’t breaking any laws, he says.


“What happens if those employees go skiing (in) Aspen or fishing in Washington?” he asked. “Up until now, I think the concern was that marijuana was an illegal activity.”


Attorney Rachel Gillette, director of the Colorado chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, says employer attitudes haven’t caught up with the public at large. She says there’s no test that can check whether someone is impaired, a problem because marijuana often remains in the body for weeks. In contrast, an employer can use a breath test to see whether a worker was drinking on the job.


“It’s a remnant of failed drug-war policy that needs to be looked at again,” Gillette says. “It’s time for employers to re-think their random drug-screening policies.”

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