Although cannabis remains a Schedule I drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, a majority of US states have passed laws permitting the manufacture, distribution and use of medical and recreational cannabis. Now, a growing number of these jurisdictions are also providing workplace protections for employees who use cannabis outside of work. This sea change presents major challenges for employers both large and small, and the difficulty is compounded by a lack of uniformity in these new laws. 

What Sets Us Apart

At Constangy, we have a team of professionals with extensive experience guiding employers through the cannabis maze and with substance abuse issues arising in the workplace. Members of our group have experience leading full-service cannabis practice groups, and, therefore, are able to offer clients a broader legal perspective on industry trends. We offer comprehensive coverage throughout the United States, staying up to date with the most recent laws and regulations on both the state and federal level. Our attorneys regularly interact with state and federal officials directly as well as agencies tasked with cannabis oversight and safety and are sought after speakers for industry groups and organizations on these topics.

What We Do

The lawyers in our Cannabis & Employee Substance Abuse Group offer expertise in the following areas to all employers:

  • Statutory employment protections contained in medical and adult-use cannabis laws in every US jurisdiction
  • Pre-employment inquiries regarding cannabis-related offenses (i.e. "Ban the Box" laws)
  • Employer interactive process obligations under the ADA and state analogues
  • Preparation of drug testing and drugs in the workplace policies
  • Management training surrounding on-the-job cannabis use / telecommuting issues
  • Workers’ compensation issues and coverage
  • Employee messaging surrounding Hemp and CBD use
  • Corporate immigration issues

Lawyers in our Cannabis Group also have deep knowledge of cannabis issues that impact clients in the transportation and logistics Industries, including:

  • DOT Part 40 compliance and the FMCSA National Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse
  • State licensure for delivery, and concerns on attendant to interstate transport of cannabis
  • United States Customs and Border Patrol (USCBP) cannabis seizures and mitigation petitions
  • Training and security concerns for drivers
  • Surveillance and GPS tracking laws

Our attorneys also counsel employers within the Cannabis Industry, both plant touching and non-plant touching, in the following areas:

  • Wage and Hour concerns stemming from payment of employees in cash
  • Sponsoring qualified retirement plans (401k)
  • Exempt status of agricultural workers
  • Negotiation of Collective Bargaining Agreements and Labor Peace Agreements

The Cannabis Industry is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, which means businesses must continue to adapt to a workforce that will be using cannabis for medicinal and recreational purposes in greater numbers. The lawyers in our Cannabis & Employee Substance Abuse Group are your trusted partner to meet this challenge.

Disclaimer: Possessing, using, distributing, and/or selling marijuana or marijuana-based products is illegal under federal law, regardless of any state law which may decriminalize such activity under certain circumstances.  No legal advice we give is intended to provide any guidance or assistance in violating federal law.



Representative Matters

Representative Matters

  • Obtained favorable settlement of claim against one of the nation’s largest health care providers for failure to hire applicant based on positive cannabis drug test
  • Counseled licensed cannabis cultivator regarding wage and hour issues with respect to seasonal agricultural workers
  • Crafted nationwide cannabis policies and employee communications for several multi-state employers
  • Performed drug impairment training for HR personnel and group of supervisors of global logistics company
  • Counseled companies investigating on the job impairment by remote workers
  • Counseled state university as to the ability to conduct cannabis research and cultivation in support of state medical cannabis program
  • Successfully negotiated mitigation of United States Customs and Border Patrol seizures and penalty associated with cannabis seizures at United States border
  • Successfully obtained work visas and provided immigration counsel for a cannabis device company

News & Analysis



Practice Contacts

Other Resources

The Cannabis & Employee Substance Abuse Practice Group is pleased to offer a Drug Testing & Cannabis State Law Survey upon request.

To request a copy, please contact Co-chairs Keya Denner, Ashley Orler, or your Constangy attorney.

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