The proposition passed and it is now legal for adults that are 21 and over to use marijuana. But, does that mean they can come to work high? Absolutely not. Employers have always had the ability to test and take disciplinary action against employees under the influence of marijuana or any other substance (medical or otherwise). This hasn’t changed. Employers in California are allowed to look at it just like alcohol. If it's obvious that you have an employee that's under the influence, employers are not expected to just ignore it. The new law made it clear that it did not repeal an employer’s ability to enforce their zero-tolerance drug policy. Besides, the drug is still illegal under federal law.
The question always comes up, "because THC stays in the system for weeks, versus alcohol dissipating in a manner of hours, how is this fair?" Organizations are strongly encouraged to have a drug policy in place that identifies their zero-tolerance policy and that employees should not do anything that gives an employer a reason to suspect drug use, either on or off the clock.
The bottom line is that not much has changed for you if you already have a decent drug policy in place. Now is a great time to shore up any questions with your policy but always consult your legal counsel while doing it.
Dusty Lefdal is the owner of Employers Investigative Services, a nationwide provider of background checks, drug testing and occupational health services. Feedback is always welcome. firstname.lastname@example.org.