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Cannabis Testing Regulations: A State-by-state Guide [REPACK]

Most states have some sort of laws in place for both pre-employment drug testing, as well as workplace drug testing policy guidelines. It can be a challenge for employers to stay up-to-date with the latest state laws as they relate to drug and alcohol testing. At National Drug Screening, we have created an easy-to-use summary guide for drug testing in the workplace. Click on a state below to find a summary of the workplace drug and alcohol testing regulations for that state.

Cannabis testing regulations: A state-by-state guide

The States with mandatory requirements have statutes that spell out what can be done and what cannot be done with workplace drug and alcohol testing programs. Examples of mandatory States include Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Vermont. In many cases, the State mandatory requirements would mirror Federal or SAMHSA drug testing rules and guidelines.

Open States generally have no statutory rules or guidelines for drug or alcohol testing. These states are not restricting drug testing and will have no specific requirements for drug testing. Examples of open States include New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Washington, Texas, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, and Massachusetts.

To assist in guideline review, on December 14, 2015, via Federal Register notice, CDC announced the intent to form an Opioid Guideline Workgroup (OGW) to provide observations on the draft guideline to the BSC. CDC provided the BSC with the draft guideline as well as summaries of comments provided to CDC by stakeholders, constituents, and peer reviewers, and edits made to the draft guideline in response. During an open meeting held on January 7, 2016, the BSC recommended the formation of the OGW. The OGW included a balance of perspectives from audiences directly affected by the guideline, audiences that would be directly involved with implementing the recommendations, and audiences qualified to provide representation. The OGW comprised clinicians, subject matter experts, and a patient representative, with the following perspectives represented: primary care, pain medicine, public health, behavioral health, substance abuse treatment, pharmacy, patients, and research.* Additional sought-after attributes were appropriate academic and clinical training and relevant clinical experience; high scientific standing; and knowledge of the patient, clinician, and caregiver perspectives. In accordance with CDC policy, two BSC committee members also served as OGW members, with one serving as the OGW Chair. The professional credentials and interests of OGW members were carefully reviewed to identify possible conflicts of interest such as financial relationships with industry, intellectual preconceptions, or previously stated public positions. Only OGW members whose interests were determined to be minimal were selected. When an activity was perceived as having the potential to affect a specific aspect of the recommendations, the activity was disclosed, and the OGW member was recused from discussions related to that specific aspect of the recommendations (e.g., urine drug testing and abuse-deterrent formulations). Disclosures for the OGW are reported. CDC and the OGW identified ad-hoc consultants to supplement the workgroup expertise, when needed, in the areas of pediatrics, occupational medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, medical ethics, addiction psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation, guideline development methodology, and the perspective of a family member who lost a loved one to opioid use disorder or overdose.

CDC also reviewed clinical guidelines that were relevant to opioid prescribing and could inform or complement the CDC recommendations under development (e.g., guidelines on nonpharmacologic and nonopioid pharmacologic treatments and guidelines with recommendations related to specific clinician actions such as urine drug testing or opioid tapering protocols).

Experts agreed that prior to starting opioids for chronic pain and periodically during opioid therapy, clinicians should use urine drug testing to assess for prescribed opioids as well as other controlled substances and illicit drugs that increase risk for overdose when combined with opioids, including nonprescribed opioids, benzodiazepines, and heroin. There was some difference of opinion among experts as to whether this recommendation should apply to all patients, or whether this recommendation should entail individual decision making with different choices for different patients based on values, preferences, and clinical situations. While experts agreed that clinicians should use urine drug testing before initiating opioid therapy for chronic pain, they disagreed on how frequently urine drug testing should be conducted during long-term opioid therapy. Most experts agreed that urine drug testing at least annually for all patients was reasonable. Some experts noted that this interval might be too long in some cases and too short in others, and that the follow-up interval should be left to the discretion of the clinician. Previous guidelines have recommended more frequent urine drug testing in patients thought to be at higher risk for substance use disorder (30). However, experts thought that predicting risk prior to urine drug testing is challenging and that currently available tools do not allow clinicians to reliably identify patients who are at low risk for substance use disorder.

The Cannabis Control Division regulates and licenses cannabis producers, manufacturers, retailers, couriers, and testing and research laboratories operating in the medical and adult-use markets to ensure public health and safety. To achieve this, the division establishes policy and rules pertaining to licensing, promoting social equity, compliance, and enforcement.

The Cannabis Control Division issues licenses to cannabis producers, microbusiness producers, integrated microbusinesses, manufacturers, retailers, consumption areas, vertically integrated establishments, couriers, and testing and research laboratories. Licenses are good for one year, beginning on the date of issuance. While applications for most licenses is conducted online, CCD staff assists applicants and licensees through the initial licensing process and renewal process in subsequent years. The division works in concert with the Department of Public Safety, Office of the State Engineer, Environment Department, other state agencies, tribes, and Pueblos to assist applicants to get licensed.

Both a BDP and a purified cannabinoid product must undergo a full range of preclinical and clinical safety and efficacy testing, including drug/drug and food/drug interaction studies. In addition, because a cannabinoid product is derived from the cannabis plant and is therefore generally considered to be active in the central nervous system, the product must go through a battery of tests to determine the extent (or not) of its abuse potential: receptor binding and preclinical studies, as well as a special human abuse liability study.

To share complaint, concern or grievance that you have about a licensed medical cannabis establishment in Mississippi (a grower, testing facility, dispensary, etc.),use our online form.

Employers' rights to enact drug policies prohibiting cannabis use in and outside the workplace under Washington law did not change after the adoption of Initiative 502 in 2012. Except for persons with commercial driver's licenses, state law is silent on the topic of cannabis use and testing in the workplace, and cannabis remains illegal under federal law. Where in force, federal regulations may still prohibit use and mandate testing for cannabis.


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