|Effective Date:||Expiration Date:||Chapters:|
|Feb. 11, 2021||When Superseded||4 12 16|
In the District of Columbia, eligible individuals may use marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes. As a result, the District government recognizes the need to review, clarify, and update existing policies for public employees. This issuance expands upon Mayor's Order 2019-81, Cannabis Policy, Guidance, and Procedures, and explains the District's policy for employees in non-safety sensitive positions. Safety Sensitive employees should refer to issuance I-2020-18, Marijuana and Safety Sensitive Employees, instead of this issuance.
Provided that such use does not interfere with or impair their ability to carry out their assigned duties, District government employees who are not classified as safety sensitive may engage in off-duty, lawful use of marijuana products, which is any substance that contains more than 0.03% of the psychoactive chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Employees may not use, distribute, possess, or be impaired by marijuana products while on duty or on District government owned or leased property.
No employees, even those who hold a valid medical marijuana card, may use marijuana at work. An agency, at its discretion, may allow an employee to use sick leave or arrange an alternative work schedule that allows the employee to use medicinal marijuana outside the employee’s tour of duty.
Agencies may not disqualify any applicant from the hiring process merely for possessing a medical marijuana card, or for their involvement in a government-approved medical marijuana program administered by the District of Columbia or a reciprocal jurisdiction.
An employee’s drug testing requirements are determined by their position designation. All District employees are subject to reasonable suspicion and post-accident or incident drug and alcohol testing. Protection sensitive employees are additionally subject to pre-employment drug and alcohol testing. To confirm their position designation, employees can consult their position description, offer letter document, or DCHR’s issuance on position designations, or speak with their agency Human Resources staff.
|Drug Tests Applicable to Non-Safety Sensitive Employees|
|Protection Sensitive||Security Sensitive||Non-covered Positions|
Applicants for covered positions who have been extended conditional offers of employment are referred to as “appointees.” Most appointees are not subject to pre-employment drug testing. Only appointees for positions designated as protection or safety sensitive will need to undergo a pre-employment drug test to determine whether they are suitable for the position.
Appointees to protection sensitive positions are subject to pre-employment drug testing after receiving a conditional offer. A positive pre-employment test result for only marijuana will not on its own deem an appointee unsuitable. An appointee who tests positive for marijuana only on this test will continue forward with the employment consideration process. However, an agency may disqualify the appointee if the pre-employment drug test detects the presence or use of any other prohibited drugs.
Appointees to safety sensitive positions are also subject to pre-employment drug testing. For more information on pre-employment drug testing for safety sensitive positions, please refer to Issuance No. 2020-18, Marijuana and Safety Sensitive Employees.
All District government employees are subject to reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing. If an agency believes that an employee is impaired at work due to the use of drugs or alcohol, the agency may require that the employee take a drug and alcohol test.
Some signs of impairment may include:
An agency may not establish reasonable suspicion solely on the basis that an employee possesses a medical marijuana card or on the basis that the employee participates in a recognized medical marijuana program. An agency also cannot use the employee’s possession of a medical marijuana card, or participation in a recognized program as a supporting factor for reasonable suspicion.
For more information on reasonable suspicion testing, please see our issuance on Reasonable Suspicion Drug and Alcohol Testing.
All District employees may be subject to post-accident and post-incident drug and alcohol testing if they are involved in an accident or incident that:
In addition to drug and alcohol testing, to the extent possible, the agency must send a trained supervisor to the site of the accident or incident to conduct a reasonable suspicion observation and complete a Reasonable Suspicion Observation Form.
Chapter 16 of the D.C. personnel regulations. If a non-safety sensitive employee tests positive for marijuana after an accident or incident, the positive test result for marijuana can be outweighed by clear and convincing evidence that the employee was not impaired at the time of the incident. A positive test result for any other regulated drug or for alcohol may result in an administrative action pursuant to corrective and adverse action policies and procedures.
Following a drug or alcohol test based on reasonable suspicion or after an accident or incident, an agency shall take appropriate and progressive disciplinary action in accordance with Chapter 16 of the D.C. personnel regulations.
If DCHR or an agency issues an employee a proposed corrective or adverse action related to a positive drug test for the presence of marijuana, the employee may provide clear and convincing evidence that they were not impaired by marijuana at the time of the test. Such evidence must be provided to the deciding official or, in the case of removal, to the assigned hearing officer. For instance, employees could provide evidence that their use of marijuana was so remote in time from when they reported for duty that it could not have presented a risk of impairment. Evidence may include a completed Reasonable Suspicion Observation Form or any other reliable evidence indicating that the employee was not impaired. Deciding officials and hearing officers may consider this evidence as a mitigating factor.
The relevant agency shall make the final administrative determination based upon the evidence provided by the proposing official and by the employee and any recommendations made by a hearing officer, as applicable. Safety sensitive employees should refer to Issuance No. 2020-##, Marijuana and Safety Sensitive Employees.
This issuance applies to all District government employees under the Mayor’s personnel authority who are not designated as safety sensitive.
To the extent a provision of this issuance is incompatible with a negotiated collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the CBA provision shall apply.
For additional information concerning this issuance, please contact the D.C. Department of Human Resources, Policy and Compliance Administration, by calling (202) 442-9700 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issued by Director Ventris C. Gibson, D.C. Department of Human Resources on Feb. 11, 2021, 10:39 a.m.