What is an employer to do in a state with legalized marijuana—medical or otherwise?

Any employer who is not concerned about the negative effects of employing drug and alcohol abusers is deluding him- or herself. Substance abusers cost companies money (absenteeism, presenteeism, workers comp claims, “re-work,” tardiness, pilferage and more).

But if marijuana is legal, how does an employer deal with that in the workplace?

Simple.Make it against company policy for employees to have any drugs of abuse in their systems. Alcohol is legal, and it’s perfectly acceptable–and obligatory, actually–that employers insist on sobriety in the work place.

In states with some form of legalized marijuana, it is critical that employers make sure they have a good, solid, defensible policy on drug and alcohol use.

Policy is step one. You also need to have proper supervisor and employee training, and most important: Testing.

Pre-employment testing is not enough.