Can Employers Fire Employees for Legal Marijuana Use in AZ?Written by Chris Weatherall on Mar 28, 2019
Well over half the states in our country have legalized marijuana use for medicinal or recreational purposes. Most of the states have only legalized medical marijuana use – that includes Arizona.
However, ten states have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purpose. There is overwhelming support for full cannabis legalization throughout the country. Since marijuana use is legal in many places, most people think they will not face any consequences for using it. However, that’s not always true. In some cases, you can still be fired from your job for using marijuana in a state where it is legal to do so.
Here’s what you need to know:
Medical Marijuana Use
It is legal to use marijuana for medical reasons in Arizona. However, you need to have a prescription from a doctor.
In many states, firing employees for using marijuana for medical reasons is still possible. That is if they take a drug test and it comes back positive for marijuana.
Fortunately, Arizona is one of the few states that has additional legal protections for those using marijuana for medical reasons. You cannot be fired for using marijuana or testing positive for it if you have been approved for medical reasons.
Recreational Marijuana Use
Is is still not legal in Arizona to use marijuana for recreational purpose, though many people believe that it is just a matter of time until that changes.
Many are now lobbying to pass a bill legalizing recreational use of the drug. However, your employer can still fire you from your job. More so, you may face legal consequences. That is if you do not have a medical prescription and you are caught either using or possessing marijuana. If you are using marijuana or have test positive for it, you can still be fired even if you are in other states where recreational marijuana use is legal.
Employers are allowed to set their own rules for employment, even if the prohibited activity has been ruled legal in the state.
Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, even if specific states have ruled it legal. Therefore, if an employer receives federal funding, they are likely to be more vigilant about keeping marijuana use out of its workforce. These employers are more likely to routinely test employees for drug use. Moreover, they are more likely to have strict policies against marijuana use.
Employers require a drug test in most states. That is a requirement by some employers to their potential employees. Once they are hired, it is not allowed to perform random drug testing to their employees in some states, though.
Arizona is one of the states that does allow for random drug testing. Employers do not have to announce their intention to do so or give employees any kind of warning. That means that if you are working in Arizona and you use marijuana but do not have a prescription to do so, you are taking a huge gamble.
Your employer could require you to take a drug test at any time. If it is positive, you can be immediately fired.
Working Under the Influence
No state allows employees to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including legal recreational or medicinal marijuana.
Therefore, if you enjoy marijuana legally, you better make sure you are doing it on your own time. If you get caught under the influence while you are at work or on call, you can be fired immediately.
Attitudes have shifted immensely toward marijuana use, but state laws have not caught up across the board.
If you are using marijuana in Arizona, know that you are putting your job at risk
– unless you have a prescription for medical use.
This content has been thoroughly reviewed by the reputable employment law attorneys in Arizona at Denton Peterson, P.C.
As legal experts in this field of law, they can protect your employment rights as well as your right to legally use medical marijuana.
Brad Denton is a top rated employment law lawyer in Arizona at Denton Peterson, P.C. Brad received his law degree with academic honors from the University of Chicago. Moreover, he has over 20 years of experience helping businesses and individuals in a variety of areas of law.