Department of Labor Hosting Workgroup to Study Drug Testing and Impacts of Marijuana in the Workplace Bookmark and Share

June 11, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 11, 2015 Media Contact: Julie Rabinowitz, 621-5009

AUGUSTA—The Maine Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Standards will be hosting a workgroup this year to study issues related to the Maine employee drug testing law and medical marijuana in the workplace. The Bureau has scheduled a number of meetings over the summer for presentations and discussions of research and selected topics.

“Both employers and employees need laws with clear standards that are enforceable,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “These laws address substance use and abuse in the workplace. Impaired workers, whether they are using drugs or alcohol, can put co-workers, clients, and property at risk of injury, damage, or worse. Well-informed, common-sense reforms can make our workplaces safer.”

This past Legislative session, the Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development (LCRED) tabled the Department of Labor's proposed changes to the existing workplace drug-testing statue in LD 1384, “An Act To Improve Workplace Safety by Simplifying and Improving Employers' Substance Abuse Policy Requirements", which was based on research and surveys conducted last year by the department. This extra time provides state officials and stakeholders with the opportunity to study additional concerns about marijuana, for both medical and potentially legal personal use, in relation to the workplace.

Meetings and research activities will be scheduled through the summer and early fall to develop recommendations on those policy issues to be brought to the Legislature in January 2016. The following meetings will be held at the Department of Labor offices at 45 Commerce Drive in Augusta:

June 16 – Study group planned activities and assignments, 9 a.m., Frances Perkins Room July 1 – Medical and narcotic properties of marijuana, 9 a.m., SafetyWorks! Training Institute July 14 – Exemption for employers with federal testing programs, 9 a.m., SafetyWorks! Training Institute July 29 – Employers concerns/issues with medical marijuana in the workplace, 9 a.m., SafetyWorks! Training Institute
Aug 11 – How to gauge impairment? Studies and options, 9 a.m., SafetyWorks! Training Institute Aug 18 – EAPs, substance abuse rehab programs, costs and options, 9 a.m., SafetyWorks! Training Institute
Sep 3 – What is a significant first accident to determine probable cause? 9 a.m., SafetyWorks! Training Institute Sep 9 – Catch-up and Wrap-up, 9 a.m., Frances Perkins Room The Bureau plans to complete its informational meetings and discussions by mid-September in order to be able to prepare a draft report by mid-October, allowing a final report to be prepared for the Committee by the end of 2015.

Anyone interested in participating will be welcome. For further information contact Mark Dawson at (207) 623-7904 (Mark.Dawson@maine.gov) or Amanda O’Leary (207) 623-7902 (Amanda.O’Leary@maine.gov).

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