Off-duty Marijuana Use On 420 Day – Can Your Employer Fire You?

There are highs and lows of celebrating 420 day like getting fired for off-duty marijuana use.

420 day is no longer celebrated behind closed doors and their party invitations no longer include codes. With recreational marijuana legalized in ten states, 420 friendly people can indulge in herb satisfaction without any repercussions. Getting high like a kite without any repercussions sounds like a dream and sadly, that’s exactly what it is. You may have the right to consume cannabis if it’s legal in your state, but the law doesn’t protect you from a drug test or from getting fired for off-duty marijuana use.

Marijuana consumption is still illegal according to federal law, but the states are divided when it comes to terminating someone’s employment after testing positive on a drug test. Some states are indifferent towards off-duty marijuana use while some explicitly loathe it. And, when it comes to seeking help from the law, employers are more favored than employees. A guide to testing marijuana at work can help you understand how drug tests are usually administered at workplaces.

It goes without saying that you can definitely be fired for getting high or being high while you are at work. In this post, we will shed light upon the different state laws regarding recreational marijuana use and whether you can be fired for smoking pot. The list comprises of the states where recreational use of marijuana is legal.

States With Marijuana Usage Is Legal


Some employers may have a “zero-tolerance policy” which can get you fired if your results on a drug test are positive. Federal agents are required to abide by the 1988 Drug-Free Workplace Act which strongly prohibits marijuana use. Also, consuming pot in public is punishable by a fine up to $100. So, if you were planning on hosting a 420 party at a park, we would advise you not to.


In California, employees can administer a drug test only if they have solid facts that an employee is high. Employees in California are protected by their constitutional right to privacy which restricts employers from monitoring off-duty conduct. Thus, your employment is safe if a drug test isn’t justified.


Employers are free to administer drug tests and take employment-related decisions based on those drug tests. A positive result can thus, conclude in you getting fired even if it’s off-duty marijuana use. Businesses and property owners have the right to ban marijuana consumption or possession on their properties, so be vigilant about where you smoke weed.


Drug testing is only allowed if a company has a drug testing policy in place approved by the Maine Department of Labor. So, a random drug test can be administered and you can be fired for smoking pot only if it’s included in the workplace policy.


Employers in Massachusetts are not required to accommodate recreational marijuana in the workplace. They are free to conduct a random drug test and fire you if marijuana is found in your system. In December, a bill was proposed in the state that would bar employers from firing workers for using marijuana privately. But by the time this bill is passed, worrying about your job wouldn’t be a bad idea.


If an employee shows up to work under influence, he or she can be subject to a drug test and termination of employment can follow if results are positive. In this state too, the legal use of marijuana is only theoretically applicable.


Public consumption of marijuana is illegal in all public places, including a moving car and you could be subject to a fine even if you weren’t the one driving. As for the possibility of getting fired, yes, you could be fired for smoking pot. Random drug tests could be administered if your employer has suspicions.


An employee has to submit to a drug test only if the company’s workplace policy has a clause regarding this. A drug test can be administered only if the employee in question depicts impaired behavior. A positive result on a justified drug test could lead to disciplinary actions up to or including termination of employment.


Under the zero-tolerance policy, Vermont too doesn’t protect employees from getting fired if they fail a drug test. However, termination is not permitted for a first offense, rather the employee is given a chance to join an Employee assistance program.


Washington is the only state which doesn’t allow home plantation of marijuana. Employers in Washington have the right to establish drug-free workplaces and prohibit consumption, possession or influence of off-duty marijuana use at work.

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Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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