CDC Provides Guidance to Employers on Marijuana Use by Employee Drivers


The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently issued guidance to employers on marijuana and workplace motor vehicle safety programs. Noting the increase in state laws legalizing medical and recreational use of marijuana, as well as the impact on a driver’s cognitive abilities, NIOSH offers the following “best practices” for employers:

  • Develop a comprehensive marijuana policy that accounts for applicable state laws.
  • If a zero-tolerance policy for marijuana is not possible, the policy should still prohibit the use or being under the influence of marijuana while at work.
  • Partner with a knowledgeable attorney to review the policy and provide feedback.
  • If drug testing is part of the policy, outline specifics to include: when testing will occur, the threshold for impairment, consequences of a positive test, and the use of a trained medical professional to interpret test results.
  • In addition, NIOSH encourages employers to inform employees that cannabidiol product labeling is not regulated and is frequently inaccurate, meaning that the use of CBD products could result in a positive test for marijuana use.
  • Provide access to support for employees with drug problems, either through in-house programs or referrals to local resources.
  • Educate drivers on: the effects of marijuana and other drugs on safe driving and cognitive abilities; the company’s marijuana policy (tailored for applicable state laws); and similar impairments that can result from fatigue, medications, and certain medical conditions.
  • Train managers and supervisors on their responsibilities under the policy, as well as how to recognize and document signs of impairment.
  • Monitor the relevant state marijuana laws and any improved methods for determining impairment. Update policies as needed.