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Legal Marijuana and Workmans Comp

Old 03-16-2018, 07:19 AM
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Default Legal Marijuana and Workmans Comp

Just curious I was talking with one of my customers the other day and he mentioned and employee of his was injured the other day. His employee told him on the way to the doctor that he would test positive for THC if workers comp were to test him. It was a minor injury and rather than turn it in to workers comp they opted to just pay out of pocket. $600 and no comp claim this one worked out ok for him.

The whole situation got us talking about the states that legalized marijuana and how employers, comp, and other insurance are handling this. What about employers that require employees to drive, how does the employers insurance company handle this? What about a company that uses heavy equipment? Can employers still have a zero tolerance policy? I know THC can stay in your system for days if not weeks after use, you may not be under the influence but still test positive. Does anyone have any experience with this or know how this is working in legalized states?
Old 03-16-2018, 07:22 AM
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work comp wont pay if our truck drivers test positive
Old 03-16-2018, 07:28 AM
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If the worker was drunk from drinking legal alcohol when injured should or would OWCP pay?
Old 03-16-2018, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by round2it View Post
If the worker was drunk from drinking legal alcohol when injured should or would OWCP pay?
Apples to oranges comparison. If you had a beer 30 days ago and then get injured, workmans comp will pay. If you smoke a joint 30 days ago and get injured, workmans comp won't pay assuming you test positive.
Old 03-16-2018, 07:32 AM
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What about legal marijuana?
Old 03-16-2018, 07:39 AM
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Default Workers comp would not pay.

I had an employee a few years back that fell off the back of our truck and broke his arm. He tested positive for pot and alcohol. The insurance company said to fire him immediately, and that they would only pay for the drug & alcohol test and if he wanted they would see him in court. I guess he never got an attorney to take the case as we never heard from him again.
Old 03-16-2018, 08:00 AM
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Based on regulatory changes last year, OSHA is trying to discourage most post accident testing. Forcefully.

I don't know the answer. Generally, I am opposed to drug/alcohol testing, as it's mostly an IQ test and people beat/fake/dodge them all the time.

A problem with drugs other than alcohol is that people don't seem to understand the difference between "limits of detection" and "intoxication threshold". When some common sense is applied here, it might get some to make these tests more indicative of whether the individual was actually under the influence rather than just exposed to the drug in the recent past, and might make some of this discussion moot.

Unfortunately, insurance companies know that using "limits of detection" to eliminate coverage after an accident, is a way to save money, so this will be a long row to hoe, unless OSHA has its way.
Old 03-16-2018, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by round2it View Post
If the worker was drunk from drinking legal alcohol when injured should or would OWCP pay?
Exactly as JJ said apples to oranges. THC can be in your system days or weeks after use, alcohol is gone the following day. I think we can agree that days after use of marijuana you are no longer under the influence but can still test positive. My question is how employers, insurance and comp are handling this in states that it is LEGAL? I know how states where it has not been legalized deal with it. Only interested in how states where it is legal are dealing with this.
Old 03-16-2018, 08:19 AM
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If you test positive at my company, or any other construction company around here, you gone. No different than alcohol. Just cause it's legal, doesn't mean you can partake anytime you want. Now, if you want to go on vacation for 2 weeks and then take some Herbal Clean prior to your wiz quiz..........
Old 03-16-2018, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Just1more View Post
If you test positive at my company, or any other construction company around here, you gone. No different than alcohol. Just cause it's legal, doesn't mean you can partake anytime you want.
Trying to keep this on track. Not talking about being under the influence at work. You can test positive well after the effects have worn off.
Old 03-16-2018, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by lurker25 View Post
Trying to keep this on track. Not talking about being under the influence at work. You can test positive well after the effects have worn off.
Doesn't matter one bit. If you don't want to test positive, don't smoke weed. Companies will never budge on this because the insurance companies won't budge on it. Unless they create an option to the plan that will cost companies BIG money, which they won't go for anyway.
Old 03-16-2018, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by lurker25 View Post
Exactly as JJ said apples to oranges. THC can be in your system days or weeks after use, alcohol is gone the following day. I think we can agree that days after use of marijuana you are no longer under the influence but can still test positive. My question is how employers, insurance and comp are handling this in states that it is LEGAL? I know how states where it has not been legalized deal with it. Only interested in how states where it is legal are dealing with this.
I have heard of employers in the tech world terminating the employee and rehiring them as a 1099 without benefits and higher pay-- basically like you'd do any contractor.
Old 03-16-2018, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Just1more View Post
Doesn't matter one bit. If you don't want to test positive, don't smoke weed. Companies will never budge on this because the insurance companies won't budge on it. Unless they create an option to the plan that will cost companies BIG money, which they won't go for anyway.
So states where it is legal are comp companies still testing and denying claims? Seems like an easy out for the comp companies if that is the case. Also would a comp or insurance require you to terminate the employee to continue coverage as well as denying the claim?

Originally Posted by jj1987 View Post
I have heard of employers in the tech world terminating the employee and rehiring them as a 1099 without benefits and higher pay-- basically like you'd do any contractor.
Interesting work around.
Old 03-16-2018, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jj1987 View Post
Apples to oranges comparison. If you had a beer 30 days ago and then get injured, workmans comp will pay. If you smoke a joint 30 days ago and get injured, workmans comp won't pay assuming you test positive.
I can see the timeframe constraints. Pot doesn't stay in.the bloodstream for 30 days for testing. No longer sure of the time but I think about 7 days.

Yes even that does raise a question about being impaired or not for.injury and being complisen
Old 03-16-2018, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by lurker25 View Post
Exactly as JJ said apples to oranges. THC can be in your system days or weeks after use, alcohol is gone the following day. I think we can agree that days after use of marijuana you are no longer under the influence but can still test positive. My question is how employers, insurance and comp are handling this in states that it is LEGAL? I know how states where it has not been legalized deal with it. Only interested in how states where it is legal are dealing with this.
Companies drug test as a requirement by their insurance, state legalization did not affect this. You pee detectable THC, you fail. Whether the THC got there legally in your state has nothing to do with it.

That said, this hasn't been well tested since legalization, but I'm sure the courts will tell us in the next few years. I will be surprised if anything changes, other than the trend to identify the difference between intoxication and detection in the mean time.
Old 03-16-2018, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by round2it View Post
I can see the timeframe constraints. Pot doesn't stay in.the bloodstream for 30 days for testing. No longer sure of the time but I think about 7 days.

Yes even that does raise a question about being impaired or not for.injury and being complisen
THC doesn't show up in blood tests for more than roughly a week, but it does stay in urine (a far more common way to test) up to 30 days and in rare cases (morbidly obese people) nearly 3 months.

Since urine tests look for THC-COOH, which doesn't even get you high, there's no possible way to link impairment with the concentration of THC-COOH in the urine sample.
Old 03-16-2018, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by MSChE View Post
Companies drug test as a requirement by their insurance, state legalization did not affect this. You pee detectable THC, you fail. Whether the THC got there legally in your state has nothing to do with it.

That said, this hasn't been well tested since legalization, but I'm sure the courts will tell us in the next few years. I will be surprised if anything changes, other than the trend to identify the difference between intoxication and detection in the mean time.
This is what I am thinking it will be interesting to see where this goes in the future from a business standpoint with employment law.
Old 03-16-2018, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
What about legal marijuana?
Irrelevant. Courts have already found numerous times that a company's drug policy rules. You are not a slave and can elect to either take the job and adhere to the company policy or incur the consequences if you don't. Marijuana is federally illegal everywhere.
Old 03-16-2018, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by MSChE View Post
That said, this hasn't been well tested since legalization, but I'm sure the courts will tell us in the next few years. I will be surprised if anything changes, other than the trend to identify the difference between intoxication and detection in the mean time.
They actually already have.
Old 03-16-2018, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by round2it View Post
I can see the timeframe constraints. Pot doesn't stay in.the bloodstream for 30 days for testing. No longer sure of the time but I think about 7 days.

Yes even that does raise a question about being impaired or not for.injury and being complisen
Incorrect. There are studies out there showing THC in urine in excess of 60 days. A lot of factors including strength of the drug, volume and how often it is used among them.

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