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Maine offers training to detect impaired workers

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Maine is offering state employers “impairment detection training” as the state prepares to implement its recreational marijuana law in 2018, the Maine Department of Labor announced on Tuesday. 

That’s because under section 2454 of the state law a “school, employer or landlord may not discriminate. A school, employer or landlord may not refuse to enroll or employ or lease to or otherwise penalize a person 21 years of age or older solely for that person's consuming marijuana outside of the school's, employer's or landlord's property.”

The department told employers to continue drug screening of employees until the law goes into effect in February 2018, per a press statement. However, if section 2454 is not amended or omitted that testing for marijuana use will violate the state’s regulations protecting those who wish to use marijuana recreationally outside of work, the department stated.

At issue is that marijuana, unlike other drugs or alcohol, stays in a person’s system for weeks at a time, medical experts have said. 

Maine legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, with the law going into effect this year but delayed as lawmakers aimed to create guidelines. At odds with state laws on marijuana is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s stance on marijuana as an illegal Schedule I drug, meaning it has no medical value per the federal government. Most employers have adhered to the federal law and test their employees for drug use under longtime drug-free workplace policies.  

Maine is offering employees two courses this summer, starting with one session today and another in August.