Norhan Mansour is the cop at the center of the commission’s decision. According to court documents, she was chosen for a random drug test on Sept. 20, 2022, that turned up positive for cannabis (this was five months after the state’s recreational cannabis market opened). During a disciplinary hearing in November, she conceded that she had ingested cannabis gummies the night before the test, and afterward she was fired, the documents show.
Workplace Drug Testing
In light of the legalization of cannabis, many New Jersey employers wonder whether they can still drug test their employees. The answer is yes, under the following circumstances:
The attorney general of New Jersey last week issued a new directive on drug testing requirements for law enforcement agencies, a necessary update following the launch of the state’s legal cannabis market earlier this year.
Matthew Platkin, who was confirmed as the state’s AG last month, said that following the opening of the regulated marijuana industry in April, “many law enforcement agencies delayed the random drug testing of officers under the AG Drug Testing Policy to allow time for additional guidance and clarity.”
The workplace guidelines released by the state agency overseeing cannabis has employers dazed and confused over what they can do to discipline a worker who might be high on the job.
Cannabis law experts and employment attorneys called the rules and their rollout vague and baffling, and said the suggestions outlined are impractical to implement and keep businesses in a “state of limbo.”
“I see a lot of risk from both the employer and the employees’ side that’s a little concerning,” said Sean Sanders, a Pine Brook-based employment attorney at Frier Levitt.
New Jersey employers have finally received a roadmap from the state on marijuana in the workplace. Late last week the Cannabis Regulatory Commission issued the long-awaited guidance as a first step toward the development of permanent standards outlining how businesses should respond if a worker is impaired due to marijuana. A key recommendation says employers can, but aren’t required to, use so-called Workplace Impairment Recognition Experts, or WIREs, when determining if an employee is high at work.
The long-awaited interim regulations for the nascent industry came as a relief to employers, who said they had been left in the dark on how to keep their workplace free of drugs.
While a positive drug test for marijuana won’t by itself be grounds to fire or discipline a staffer, or to decline to hire someone, an employee could still be let go if they’re also shown to be under the influence during work hours.
he New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) announced the workplace guidelines during a meeting on Friday, joining several other states that have implemented specific protections for people who use marijuana in compliance with state law.
The CRC says that workers have the right to use marijuana on their off-time but adds that businesses also have the right to keep a drug-free workplace.
“Employers have the right to maintain a drug-free workplace…Employers may require an employee to undergo a drug test upon reasonable suspicion of an employee’s usage of cannabis or cannabis products…” the CRC wrote in its guidance.
A positive drug test combined with documented signs of impairment might be enough for an employer to fire or reprimand a worker who is high on the job, according to guidelines released Friday by the state panel overseeing cannabis.
But a scientifically reliable test showing cannabis in the worker’s body on its own is insufficient to support adverse employment action, the guidelines say.
Some New Jersey employers are expressing frustration with their attempts to create a drug-free workplace. When recreational marijuana was legalized last year, leaders also agreed on a provision to create workplace-impairment recognition experts, or WIREs. Since a person can test positive for marijuana for quite some time after using it, the role of the WIREs is to determine if an employee is impaired on the job.