Law column: Marijuana in your workplace

Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America, behind alcohol and tobacco. It is estimated that nearly 100 million Americans use it.

Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., recently have legalized marijuana’s recreational use and distribution. Many employers in Iowa are wondering how this trend will affect their workplace.

But frankly, unless federal and state laws are changed, the answer is not at all.

Remember, marijuana still is illegal under federal law (the Controlled Substances Act) and Iowa law. In fact, even in those states that legalized marijuana years ago (Colorado and Washington), many employers continue to drug test for marijuana in the workplace.

Significant jumps in positive drug tests at many companies in those states are resulting in firings, high turnover and rejected applicants.

Therefore, in an Iowa workplace, marijuana should be treated as any other illegal substance. That is, it should not be used, distributed, purchased or...

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