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Marijuana Legalization Updates for Businesses

by | Jan 9, 2024 | Small Business |

Marijuana Testing New Employees

Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize recreational marijuana on August 1, 2023. While legalization has received considerable publicity, an aspect that flew under the radar was the impact on employee drug testing. Here’s what you as a business owner need to know when hiring and testing applicants.

As of August 1, Minnesota employers may not:

  • Refuse to hire a job applicant based on an applicant’s use of cannabis products while off the employer’s premises during nonworking hours;
  • Request or require a job applicant to undergo testing solely for the purpose of determining the presence or absence thereof as a condition of employment;
  • Refuse to hire a job applicant solely based on a positive result for cannabis (unless required by state or federal law—for example, safety-sensitive positions);
  • Request or require a job applicant to undergo cannabis testing on an arbitrary or capricious basis; and
  • Withdraw an offer to a job applicant whose offer was contingent on passing a cannabis test, without a verification of a 2nd positive result from a confirmatory test (only for applicants of certain positions).

Employers may:

  • Request a cannabis test only after the employer has provided an appropriate form detailing the cannabis testing policy;
  • Request or require cannabis testing for a job applicant in the following instances:
    • After an employer presents the employee or job applicant with a form detailing the cannabis testing policy—as with drug and alcohol testing policy requirements;
  • If the employee or job applicant is or will be working in one of the positions specified by statute (including but not limited to safety-sensitive positions, peace officer positions, and several others); and
  • If an employer has reasonable suspicion that the employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, violated the employer’s written work rules prohibiting such use, sustained a personal injury or has caused another employee to sustain a personal injury; or caused a work-related accident or was operating or helping to operate machinery, equipment, or vehicles involved in a work-related accident.


Cannabis testing should be completed at a National Institute on Drug Abuse certified testing laboratory. Employers cannot conduct cannabis testing of their own employees or job applicants at a laboratory owned and operated by the employer.

What to do?

Update your written drug and alcohol testing policy by explicitly including cannabis in your drug and alcohol testing policy.

Prepare a form detailing cannabis testing to share with job applicants and employees.

If you have any questions about marijuana testing, contact us at (763) 582-1414. We will continue to update you as the Office of Cannabis Management provides additional guidelines in 2024.