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Washington, D.C. Drug Testing Compliance

Capital US Capitol Building Population 681,170
Largest city Seattle
Area 68.34 sq mi
Criminal rate 30 crimes /10,000 people Time Zone UTC −5/−4

Washington, D.C. Employee Background Check Laws

Washington, D.C.

Legal status for workplace drug screening and alcohol testing

Our intent is to make Washington D.C. drug test compliance as simple as possible. You don’t have to be a constitutional law scholar to conduct workplace drug screening in Washington, D.C..

Washington, D.C. is a “mandatory” jurisdiction, which means any employer wishing to conduct drug and/or alcohol testing within the District must do so according to the code, regulations and court decision that apply.  The law (32-931) does not require any employer to conduct drug or alcohol testing. Testing is your choice.

This overview is to introduce you to the nature and history of the state’s workplace drug testing rules and to provide a basic understanding of the compliance issues you may face when testing in this state.

Drug Testing Overview Marijuana Court Decisions

Employer Action:
Q1: Are there any state limitations for workplace drug screening policies?
A: There are no specific requirements for employer drug screening policy for Washington D.C.
Q2: Please choose a reason for drug and alcohol testing:
Yes
Yes
No
Yes- Review OSHA new rule.
No
No
No
Q3: Are there any state requirements for test methods?
A: Safety-sensitive only.
Q4: Are there any state requirements or limitation for drugs you can test for?
A: No restrictions.
Q5: Are there any state requirements or limitations for specific notice of result?
A: No restrictions.
Q6: Is it required to use a Certified Laboratory?
A: There is currently no requirements or restrictions but, organizations are strongly encouraged to use a certified laboratory for drug testing.
Q7: What types of specimens can we test for?
A: No restrictions.
Q8: Are there restrictions for Alcohol Testing?
A: No restrictions.

Did you know?

Q1. Can I do a random testing for my employees in Washington?

Correct!

Answer is “Yes”

There are currently no limitations or restrictions for drug and alcohol testing in Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C. Drug & Alcohol Testing Laws

Washington D.C.’s drug testing law focuses primarily on pre-employment testing of marijuana. It does not address other aspects of a testing program such as when a person can be tested. This law was originally enacted in 2015 and focuses on pre-employment testing of marijuana exclusively. It does not discuss where testing may be conducted, how tests must be conducted, or what post-test procedures are needed.

This law limits pre-employment drug testing and prohibits employers from testing prospective employees for marijuana until a conditional offer of employment has been extended.

ABBREVIATIONS
  • American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
  • Blood Alcohol concentration (BAC)
  • Breath Alcohol Test (BAT)
  • Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)
  • College of American Pathologists (CAP)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Forensic Urine Drug Testing (FUDT)
  • Medical Review officer (MRO)
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)

Update: December 2017

Disclaimer

This material is time sensitive. Contact us for updates. This information is subject to frequent change through legislative and court action.

All materials in this page and accompanying information are for general educational purposes and not intended to provide legal, scientific or medical advice. Consult with an appropriate professional to address specific issues.

Washington, D.C. Marijuana Employer Guidelines

“Recreational vs. personal” use of marijuana: We recognize that a majority of the country uses the term “recreational use” when referring to states that have legalized possession and use of limited amounts of marijuana for those over 21.

Washington, D.C. personal and medical use of marijuana.

Medical Use: This District’s legislative body has authorized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. (2010 Medical Marijuana Treatment Act, D.C. Code 7-1671.01 et seq.) Washington DC’s medical marijuana law history is long and somewhat complicated by the fact that the US Congress oversees actions in the District. 69% of D.C. voters approved Initiative 59 (“Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act of 2010”) November 3, 1998. However, Congress blocked the implementation of the law. Known as the “Barr Amendment,” Congressional action in 2000 effectively blocked the District’s implementation of the law voters approved. This was true until 2009 when Congress lifted the ban. In a 13-0 vote on May 4, 2010, the District Council approved Amendment Act B18-622. It went into effect on July 27, 2010.

There are no employer limitations from either the medical or personal use statutes. Patient prohibitions exist, such as operating vehicles under the influence.

Personal Use: On November 4, 2014, Initiative 71 was approved by 68.87% of the voters. The law is entitled, “Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014” (D.C. Code 48-904.01). Congress had 30 days to reject Initiative 71. Since Congress failed to act the Initiative became law.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any person, business, corporation, organization, or other entity, or District government agency or office, who or which occupies, owns, or controls any real property, from prohibiting or regulating the possession, consumption, use, display, transfer, distribution, sale, transportation, or growing of marijuana on or in that property.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to require any District government agency or office, or any employer, to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growing of marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of any such agency, office, or employer to establish and enforce policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.

Update: December 2017

Disclaimer

This material is time sensitive. Contact us for updates. This information is subject to frequent change through legislative and court action.

All materials in this page and accompanying information are for general educational purposes and not intended to provide legal, scientific or medical advice. Consult with an appropriate professional to address specific issues.

KEY COURT DECISIONS
Court Case Issue Outcome Employer Limitation/ Action

Coles VS. Harris Teeter LLC

  1. Wrongful termination and discrimination involving medical marijuana.

The Court made it clear that the medical use law does NOT protect an employee.

Employers discretion to remove workers who fail a drug test for marijuana use or violate workplace drug-prevention policies.

Update: December 2017

TO PAGETOP