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Marijuana will soon be legal in New Mexico. How will it affect your job?

Posted by Robert Scott | Apr 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

Gov. Lujan Grisham just signed the marijuana legalization bill, but it won't go into effect until next year.

The marijuana legalization law is over 100 pages. So, it's complicated.

I haven't read it all yet, but New Mexico's workers need to be very careful. Marijuana use cause them to be disciplined at work and even be fired from their job if they test positive. All of this could happen even if the worker hasn't used marijuana in the last twelve to 24 hours or longer.

It is my understanding that most tests look for THC, which is a component of marijuana. It is also my understanding that THC can stay in a person's body for weeks. So, a worker can test positive for marijuana even if he or she hasn't used in days or weeks.

Most employers only care about the positive test and not how long ago you used marijuana. And, most employers will discipline or fire an employee who tests positive for marijuana. If you test positive for marijuana after a work accident or work injury, it will definitely delay getting workers' compensation benefits and may even reduce your workers' compensation benefits. In limited cases, a positive test for marijuana could cause an injured worker to lose all workers' compensation benefits.

I will need to double check, but I think the new law legalizing marijuana provides no protection for workers who test positive for marijuana.

And, if you work for a federal employer or contractor, you should not be using marijuana, in my opinion, even when it becomes legal in New Mexico because marijuana is still illegal in the federal system.

I will have more to say on this once I've read the entire law.

About the Author

Robert Scott

“One of the most experienced workers' compensation attorneys in New Mexico.” After graduating from high school in New York, I attended the College of William & Mary on an ROTC scholarship and earned a degree in Spanish. I served four years in the United States Army as an infantry lieutenant.


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