After 31 years of being a drug-free workplace, Springdale is going green

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Now that medical marijuana is available within the Natural State, Springdale made a minor change to its current drug and alcohol policy and is taking into consideration the new Arkansas medical marijuana laws.

Only city employees working in a safety-sensitive position, like a firefighter, police officer, or someone who uses heavy equipment are required to notify Human Resources (HR) of their medical marijuana card. 

If these employees need to use the drug, they may have to be placed in a different position. 

“The purpose of this policy is not to infringe on anyone’s rights or medical treatments or anything like that but it is to keep the public safe,” Springdale HR Director Gina Lewis said. 

According to Arkansas State Law, you can’t carry a gun if you are using medical marijuana. 

All employees are forbidden from coming to work under the influence of medical marijuana, and unable to take the drug while at work. 

Rogers has confirmed, too, that the city has adopted a similar medical marijuana policy. 

Below is full ordinance passed by the Springdale city council

3.11 Drug-Free Workplace:

It is the policy of the City of Springdale to create a drug-free workplace in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and its

amendments. The use of controlled substances by employees subjects City employees and visitors to City facilities to unacceptable safety risks and undermines the City’s ability to operate effectively and efficiently. Therefore, the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, sale, or use of a controlled substance in the workplace or while engaged in City business for the City of Springdale or on the City’s premises is strictly prohibited. Such conduct is also prohibited during non-working hours to the extent that, in the opinion of the City, it impairs an employee’s ability to perform on the job, or threatens the reputation, or integrity of the City. Employees convicted of controlled substances related violations in the workplace must inform the City within five (5) days of such conviction or plea. Employees who violate any aspect of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Medical Marijuana Policy

While marijuana is still considered an illegal drug by the federal government and is considered a prohibited drug for purposes of the City of Springdale’s Alcohol/Drug Free Work Place Policy, state law recognizes a limited exception for medical marijuana. The following rules apply for any employee or applicant of City of Springdale who possesses a medical marijuana certification:

l. Possession, Use and Ingestion: No employee or applicant is allowed to possess, use or ingest medical marijuana in the work place (including when in the field), in a City vehicle, or during work hours, regardless of whether he or she possesses a medical marijuana card.

2. Being Under the Influence: No employee or applicant should be under the influence of medical marijuana in the work place (including when in the field), in a City vehicle, or during work hours. Further, employees under the influence of medical marijuana are prohibited from undertaking any task that would constitute negligence, and are prohibited from operating any type of powered vehicle or powered equipment – handheld or otherwise.

The term “under the influence” means symptoms of the current use of medical marijuana that may negatively impact the performance of the job duties or tasks or constitute a threat to health or safety, which can include:

a. Symptoms of an applicant or employee’s speech, walking, standing, physical dexterity, agility, coordination, actions, movement, demeanor, appearance, clothing, odor, or other irrational or unusual behavior that are inconsistent with the usual conduct of the applicant or employee;

b. Negligence or carelessness in operating equipment, machinery, or production or manufacturing processes;

c. A disregard for safety;

d. Involvement in an accident that results in:

(i) Damage to equipment , machinery, or property;

(ii) Disruption of a production or manufacturing process; or

(iii) An injury; or

e. Other symptoms causing a reasonable suspicion that the current use of marijuana may negatively impact the performance of the job duties or tasks or constitute a threat to health or safety.

The determination of whether an employee or applicant is under the influence of medical marijuana will not be based solely on the results of a drug test. Additional factors will be considered in making a determination, including (but not limited to) the following: observed conduct, behavior or appearance; information reported by a person believed to be reliable, including a report by a person who witnessed the use or possession of medical marijuana or medical marijuana paraphernalia by an applicant or employee in the workplace; lawful video surveillance; statements from the employee or other persons; printed materials that may accompany medical marijuana; information from a physician, medical review officer, or dispensary; records of government agencies, law enforcement or the courts; information from reputable reference sources in print or on the internet; and any other information reasonably believed to be reliable or accurate, including information obtained as a result of an accident or injury of any type.

3. Current Use in Safety Sensitive Jobs: Any employee who is about to become or who is a current user of medical marijuana and whose job is classified as “safety sensitive” for purposes of this policy by the City must disclose his or her upcoming or current use immediately to Human Resources. The employee need not disclose the reason why he or she was issued a medical marijuana certification or anything about his or her underlying medical condition, unless required for other reasons. The employee must provide his or her current medical marijuana certification card to Human Resources in order that a copy be made for the employee’s medical file. If a new certification card is issued, the employee must provide it as well.

Current users of medical marijuana will normally be excluded from safety sensitive jobs . If feasible, the City will attempt to accommodate employees in safety sensitive roles who are about to become or who are current users of medical marijuana. If an accommodation is not feasible, employees may be terminated, although they will be considered eligible for rehire.

Safety Sensitive positions are defined by Arkansas law as:

(A) “Safety sensitive position: means any position involving a safety sensitive function pursuant to federal regulations governing drug and alcohol testing adopted by the United States Department of Transportation or any other rules, guidelines, or regulations adopted by any other federal or state agency.

(B) “Safety Sensitive position: also means any position designated in writing by an employer as a safety sensitive position in which a person performing the position while under the influence of marijuana may constitute a threat to health or safety, including without limitation a position:

(i) That requires any of the following activities:

(a) Carrying a firearm;

(b) Performing life-threatening procedures;

(c) Working with confidential information or documents pertaining to criminal investigations; or

(d) Working with hazardous or flammable materials, controlled substances, food, or medicine; or

(ii) In which a lapse of attention could result in injury, illness, or death, including without limitation a position that includes the operating, repairing, maintaining, or monitoring of heavy equipment, machinery, aircraft, motorized watercraft, or motor vehicles as part of the job duties;…”

If you have any questions on whether a job is considered safety sensitive, please contact Human Resources. The Director of Human Resources maintains a list of all safety sensitive jobs, and a job ‘s safety sensitive status is ordinarily listed on the job description.

4. Applicants for Jobs:

a. Applicants (internal or external) for safety sensitive jobs who are current users of medical marijuana pursuant to a certification must disclose their status only if they receive a conditional offer of employment from the City. Applicants with a certification who are current users of medical marijuana will be disqualified from any safety sensitive jobs, but will be considered eligible to apply for available non-safety sensitive jobs. Further, these applicants will not be considered ineligible for safety sensitive jobs in the future when they are no longer a current user of medical marijuana .

b. Any applicant for a position at the City (safety sensitive or not) who is under the influence of medical marijuana during the application process will be disqualified from consideration. This determination will be made by the hiring manager and/or Human Resources based on the factors listed in Section 2 above.

Violations of this policy will result in discipline, up to and including termination of employment.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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