Medical marijuana is not an option for DOE contractors
Twenty-nine states in the U. S. have passed medical marijuana legislation as of April 2017. Each states differs in their legislative language as well as their general approach to implementation of the laws.
The recent Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act (410 ILCS 130) authorizes the use of medical cannabis for patients with state registration cards and states an employer may not penalize an employee solely for having a medical cannabis registration card, but that employers may discipline employees for failing a drug test: (1) if the positive test violates a nondiscriminatory workplace drug policy and/or (2) to comply with federal law.
The federal government, however, still considers marijuana and its related products as Schedule I drugs through the Drug Enforcement Agency rules and classification system. Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone and peyote.
The U.S. Department of Energy has been very clear on their stance on these new state marijuana laws and released a policy flash that states, “Any use of marijuana is illegal under federal law, regardless of state law.”
Laboratory wide Argonne procedure LMS-PROC-265: Drug Free Workplace has been updated to include language to clarify the general requirements section of this procedure with respect to the use of medical marijuana. The added language states:
“Please note that although some states (including Illinois) allow medical marijuana prescriptions, federal laws and regulations do not acknowledge marijuana prescriptions. Accordingly, marijuana, even if it is medically prescribed, remains an illicit controlled substance under laboratory policy and federal law. A positive test for any illicit controlled substance (including medically prescribed marijuana) is a violation of Argonne’s Drug-Free Workplace rules.”
This policy clarification in no way represents a laboratory statement of opinion with respect to the use of medical marijuana. This laboratory policy is necessary to meet federal compliance requirements.
Research is ongoing but for now the use of marijuana remains an illicit controlled substance under the Argonne Drug Free Workplace Procedure.