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Some of the most frequent questions that CCG gets are pertaining to drug and alcohol testing in Maine – what is allowed, when it is allowed, who makes the regulations, etc. It should come as no surprise, then, that despite the frequent changes that occur in the world of background screening, both to laws and to the science involved, Maine hasn’t made significant changes or updates to their drug testing law in 30 years. With the new challenges facing employers (read: medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, and the opioid crisis), Republican lawmakers in the state, backed by Governor Paul LePage, have proposed an extensive overhaul of the states drug testing laws.
While some Democratic lawmakers are saying the bill goes to far, employers are hoping the bill will expand their right and obligation to ensure a drug-free, safe workplace. Democratic lawmakers are most concerned with the portion of the new law that would eliminate the requirement for companies to provide employee assistance programs.
The proposed bill makes it easier for employers to test for drug impairment by removing current probable-cause requirements, in addition to allowing for drug testing after workplace accidents or due to documented signs of impairment. However, the waters are still murky when it comes to the proposed marijuana updates. The bill passed allowing recreational marijuana makes it illegal for employers to refuse to employ or discipline any employee based on consumption of marijuana while not at work. However, the new proposed drug testing bill allows employers to prohibit use and possession of marijuana in the workplace and allows employers to discipline marijuana-impaired employees. The law does not address how an employer could prove impairment from marijuana. It remains to be seen if the bill will be passed.