Minnesota Grown

July 17, 2023
Inside HR
Drugs & Alcohol
HR Compliance
Read time: 2 mins

Although I have not lived in Minnesota for a few decades, I was born and raised there and still proudly consider myself a Minnesotan. Many famous people were also native Minnesotans, including cartoonist Charles Schulz, Judy Garland, writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, musician/songwriter Prince, actor Josh Hartnett, Bob Dylan, Sinclair Lewis, actor Chris Pratt, actor Jessica Biel, filmmaker brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, vintner Robert Mondavi, Olympians Sunisa Lee and Lindsey Vonn, and actor Winona Ryder. My apologies for any I have missed!

In addition to these Minnesota-grown celebrities, the state is also known for its agriculture, growing soybeans, wheat, corn, and sugar beets as primary crops. And as of August 1, 2023, a new agricultural item has become legal: cannabis. Although legal recreational cannabis will likely not be available for purchase until 2025, individual residents over 21 years old can grow up to eight cannabis plants for personal use. Though this new legal plant life will not tip the balance of the state’s agricultural status, it creates challenges for employers’ drug-testing policies and programs, as cannabis now falls under the state legal protection provided to "off-duty use of legal substances."

Minnesota’s drug testing law (known as "DATWA") was already one of the most rigorous in the nation. With this change, it becomes even more confusing and difficult to navigate to ensure compliance. Employees in only certain positions can be tested for cannabis, and employers’ policies must reflect the specifics of who will be subject to cannabis testing and the circumstances under which testing will occur. Unfortunately, some of these issues may be settled in the courts.

As Charles Schulz’s Charlie Brown might say, "Good grief!"