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Q: My Company wants to institute a drug testing policy that would automatically disqualify an applicant for employment if they test positive for illegal drugs, including medically-prescribed marijuana. Is this legal?
A. The law regarding the responsibility of employers to accommodate medical marijuana use continues to evolve as more states pass laws allowing for marijuana use for medical and recreational reasons. In Pennsylvania, for example, the law is silent as to whether an employer can rely upon a positive drug test as a reason to reject the applicant for employment. However, the statute lists specific areas in which employers may prohibit employees from working while under the influence of marijuana – operating or controlling government-controlled chemicals or high-voltage electricity, performing duties at heights or in confined spaces; and performing tasks that threaten the life of the employee or his/her coworkers. By implication, outside these specified areas, employers may be required to accommodate marijuana use, so long as it does not occur at work.