Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Policy Must Comply With Technical Details To Qualify For AMMA Lifeline

Arizoneout continues its examination of the lifeline the legislature threw to Arizona employers facing implementation of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).  The legislature amended the Drug Testing of Employees Act earlier this year, and it is only employers who otherwise comply with the Act who can grab at this lifeline.

A key requirement of the Act is a detailed and specific written policy, and over several recent posts, we have examined the persnickety statutory mandates for that written policy.  Today, we cover a collection of technical provisions that must be part of the policy.

The employer’s written policy must include a description of the specific collection procedures and testing methods it will use.  The definition of “sample” in the act includes urine, blood, breath, saliva, and hair, indicating that all of those testing methods are available for an employer's use.  The written policy should state whether the collection of urine samples will be observed and, if so, how and by whom. 

Another provision of the Act limits the employer’s discretion to shape its own policy, as employers are required to use a lab approved or certified either by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Arizona Department of Health Services, or the College of American Pathologists.

The Act also requires confirmation testing of any positive test and mandates that the second test be a chromatographic technique.  That means a confirmed positive test is extremely unlikely to be a false positive.  But it also means the testing process itself must be more expensive.

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