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Employers Can Still Drug Test Despite Pot Being Legalized

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – Even though recreational marijuana will be for legal sale starting Wednesday, employers can still restrict workers from using it and give drug tests.

Jeramie Gomez’s goal is to be one of the first people to legally purchase an ounce of marijuana.

“I actually can’t wait until the doors open,” said Gomez. “My employer is okay with it, so I’m good.”

However not all employers are okay with it.

Curtis Graves is an attorney with the Mountain States Employers Council.

“At this point employers hold all the cards, and that’s because the language of Amendment 64 says employers are allowed to have and enforce their drug policies,” said Graves.

He deals with thousands of companies and says that not very many employers are relaxing their drug policies.

“They don’t care if the usage is on duty or off duty, they’re going to be hyper-vigilant to make sure that it isn’t on duty,” said Graves.

Graves says about 60 percent of businesses in Denver and Boulder counties will still drug test for marijuana.

“The employer can still take whatever action they deem prudent,” said Graves.

A spokeswoman for the City of Denver said in an email that their drug-free workplace policy is already in place and states that “where there is reasonable suspicion that an employee is under the influence of a controlled substance while on the job, the employing agency can require the employee to submit a drug test.”

Violations of the policy can lead to corrective action, including dismissal.

Gomez says he isn’t worried about that at his workplace.

“I’m stable. I’m pretty good, yeah,” said Gomez.

Graves said they’re waiting to see if more companies will start drug testing in the near future.

According to him, depending on a person’s usage, marijuana typically stays in a person’s system for 30 days.

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