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February 3, 2015

If you are an employer or hiring manager in the U.S., perhaps recent changes in drug-related legislation have left you a bit perplexed. That’s not surprising. In 2014, half of the states passed new legislation as they wrestled with how to deal with medical marijuana and, in the case of Washington and Colorado, the legalization of recreational marijuana use. It has left the country somewhat fragmented regarding how employers should handle employment screening and drug testing. In this post, we share a snapshot of where things stand within each state so you can make some sense of the changing landscape you may be facing. With more and more attention being given to developments in medical and recreational marijuana laws, it may be hard to imagine that the United States is not trending away from drug testing in the workplace. It is true that public opinion about certain controlled substances is shifting, but legislation is still being passed that creates provisions for drug testing employees, banning synthetic substances, and penalizing intoxicated motorists. The diversity of laws and court decisions produced in 2014 is proof that the line between pro-employer and pro-employee is vague and becoming more difficult to draw-out. As laws in some states provide new “rights” to individuals to consume intoxicating substances, other laws in those states as well as other places reinforce the rights of employers and citizens seeking to ensure safe workplaces and communities.

Comprehensive State-by-State Recap

Six states passed legislation that directly creates drug testing requirements, either for public assistance or specific industry employees. These states include Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, and New Hampshire. Three of those states passed laws to test individuals applying for public assistance (AL, GA, and MS). The other three states created requirements to drug test uniformed service employees of the Justice of the Peace Court (DE), Department of Corrections employees (IL), and certain health care workers (NH). This shows that when it comes to the workplace, legislators are trending more and more towards specializing drug testing requirements on an industry-by-industry basis.



Bill No.

Date Passed


Drug testing for applicants and recipients of public assistance Learn More

SB 63 (2014)

4-3-2014 Delivered to governor

Marijuana, medical necessity, defense against prosecution Learn More

SB 174

3-20-2014 Assigned Act No. 2014-277

Add substances to existing controlled substances, Schedule I Learn More

SB 333

3-13-2014 Assigned Act No. 2014-184


Synthetic Drug Ban Learn More

SB 173

7-16-2014Signed Into Law


Workers comp and controlled substances Learn More

HB 2221 (2014)

4-16-2014 Signed by Governor


Drug testing of uniformed service employees of Justice of the Peace Court Learn More

SB 169 (2014)

7-15-2014 Signed by Governor


Authorizing specified physicians to prescribe to specified patients medical-grade marijuana Learn More

SB 1030

6-17-2014 Chapter No. 2014-157


Create public-assistance drug testing program Learn More

HB 772 (2014)

7-1-2014 Effective Date


Amends the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act Learn More

SB 2636

7-21-2014 Governor approved / Public Act 98-0775

Drug testing of Department of Corrections employees Learn More

SB 2668 (2014)

7-16-2014 Governor approved / Public Act 98-0757


Amends UC law in general and touches upon drug testing Learn More

HB 1346 (2014)

3-24-2014 Signed by Governor


Medical marijuana Learn More

SB 2360 (2014)

5-30-2014 Signed by Governor


Amend KRS 218A.010 concerning marijuana Learn More

SB 124

4-10-2014 Signed by Governor


Amend operating-under-the-influence laws Learn More

HB 1590 (2013)

2-27-2014 Passed to Be Enacted


Altering the purpose of the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission Learn More

HB 881

4-14-2014 Approved by Governor

Making the use or possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana a civil rather than a criminal offense Learn More

SB 364

4-14-2014 Approved by Governor

Medical marijuana Learn More

SB 923 (2014)

4-14-2014 Approved by Governor


Controlled substances; marijuana; sale of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis through licensed facilities Learn More

HB 660 (2013)

12-31-2013 Approved by Governor

Marijuana Roadside Saliva Test Crimes. Learn More

HB 5385

10-22-2014 Assigned Pa 315’14 with Immediate Effect


Pharmacy Board cease and desist authority granted to prevent the sale of synthetic drugs Learn More

HB 2446

5-21-2014 Secretary of State Ch. 285

Forensic lab accreditation Learn More

SF 1725 (2014)

4-28-2014 Secretary of State Ch. 168


An Act To Provide That Adult Applicants For TANF Benefits Learn More

HB 49 (2014)

3-24-2014 Approved by Governor

Add substances to Schedule I Learn More

HB 1231

4-17-2014 Approved by Governor


Allows the Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp for research purposes and allows the use of hemp extract to treat certain individuals with epilepsy Learn More

HB 2238

7-14-2014 Approved by Governor

Medical marijuana. Learn More

SB 951 (2014)

4-22-2014 Voted Do Pass

New Hampshire

Prohibit the designation of hemp as a controlled substance Learn More

HB 153 (2013)

7-18-2014 Signed by Governor

Require random drug testing program for certain health care workers Learn More

HB 597 (2013)

5-28-2014 Signed by Governor

New York

Legalization of medical marijuana (SB 4406 identical bill) Learn More

AB 6357 (2013)

7-5-2014 Signed Chap. 90


Governing body of city or county may regulate or restrict operation, registration, storing and dispensing of medical marijuana Learn More

SB 1531 (2014)

3-20-2014 Effective date 3-19-2014 Governor signed

South Carolina

Relating To The Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act Of 1980, To Enact The Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Treatment Research Act Learn More

SB 1035

6-2-2014 Signed by Governor

Amend wording for DUI law and testing for DUI Learn More

SB 137 (2012-2013)

4-23-2014 Act No. 158

Drug testing procedures for WC Learn More

SB 826 (2013)

6-10-2014 Act No. 197


Workers Comp and Misconduct Learn More

SB 4401 (2014)

3-29-2014 Signed by Governor


Amend DUI law Learn More

HB 501 (2013)

5-10-2014 Signed by Governor

State Legislation