When they have any choice at all, most employers opt to prohibit the use of marijuana no matter their state law, says Tim Thoelecke, Jr., president of InOut Labs, a drug testing service company in Morton Grove, IL.

“I don’t see the healthcare industry as having any unique concerns, other than access to narcotics on the job. Healthcare employees, in my view, should be treated as any other safety-sensitive workforce,” he says. “To date, pretty much any case that has made it to court has come out in favor of an employer’s right to a drug-free workplace. One could easily argue that providing a drug-free workplace is not only an employer’s right, but also his/her duty, when it comes to safety.”

Any substance that can impair judgment should be carefully monitored, Thoelecke notes. If a factory worker, for example, is on pain medication that could make him or her unsafe to him- or herself or a co-worker, many employee substance policies require the worker notify human resources so he can be put on light duty or in some other role.

“For medical marijuana, I suppose an employer could have the same rule, but since marijuana is still Schedule I, and illegal federally, it can be banned entirely if an employer chooses,” he says. “Most do choose that route.”


  • Tim Thoelecke Jr., president of InOut Labs, Morton Grove, IL. Telephone: (847) 657-7900. Email: tim@inoutlabs.com.