National Security Council Endorses Zero Tolerance Prohibition on Cannabis/Marijuana for Security-Sensitive Personnel


The National Security Council released a policy statement endorsing employer zero-tolerance policies for cannabis use for personnel who operate in security-sensitive positions, explaining that no level of cannabis is secure.

In contrast to a test for Blood Alcohol Content material, testing final results for Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) metabolites (the psychoactive elements of cannabis) do not straight demonstrate employee impairment.  Constructive tests for cannabis can reflect previous usage by an employee who is not impaired.  Due to the fact the science has not but designed a test which can undoubtedly show cannabis impairment, various legal frameworks presume impairment from optimistic drug test final results.  Employers have raised the query of what “levels” of marijuana metabolites are “safe” for personnel at operate and on duty, and how finest to address optimistic drug test final results.  The National Security Council (NSC), a respected national physique of security specialists, released a policy statement on October 21, 2019 addressing cannabis concerns.

Immediately after acknowledging that the quantity of THC detectable in the physique does not straight correlate to a degree of impairment, the NSC advises employers that it is unsafe to be beneath the influence of cannabis although operating in a security sensitive position.  “Safety-sensitive” refers to positions exactly where drug impairment can drastically jeopardize the security of the employee, co-workers, or third parties.  The NSC explains that any level of cannabis in the program should really be unacceptable, as it leads to an improved threat of injury or death to the employee and other people.

In help of its contention that employers should really have a zero-tolerance policy for personnel in security-sensitive positions, the NSC cites a National Institute of Drug Abuse study that discovered that personnel who tested optimistic for cannabis had:

  • 85% additional injuries
  • 55% additional industrial incidents and
  • 75% larger absenteeism price.

The NSC additional cites an Insurance coverage Institute for Highway Security study that discovered a five.two% improve in the price of crashes post-cannabis legalization in 3 states as compared to just before legalization.

In its policy statement, the NSC additional recommends assigning personnel to non-security sensitive positions when they use marijuana for healthcare causes, as a mandatory accommodation.

As a group of security specialists, the NSC’s principal concern is employee security.  The organization’s suggestions might conflict with applicable laws or might need extra nuance and refinement.  Employers should really seek advice from with legal counsel just before implementing the NSC’s suggestions to make sure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, state cannabis laws, and other federal and state guidelines.

For additional facts on this or any connected subject please speak to the authors, your Seyfarth lawyer, or any member of the Workplace Security and Well being (OSHA/MSHA), Cannabis Law Practice, or Workplace Policies and Handbooks Teams.


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