Alabama Drug Testing Laws and Regulations



Statute of Order

Alabama Code §25-5-330 et seq.

Covered Employers

All employers.

Applicant Testing

Testing is authorized after applicant is given notice of drug-testing policy and a conditional offer of employment.

Employee Testing

Testing is authorized, including random testing and testing on reasonable suspicion, as part of fitness-for-duty exam, after on- the-job injury, or as follow-up to a rehabilitation program. Employees must receive 60 days' advance notice of testing policy, which must be conspicuously posted.

Conditions & Methods

Confirming test in case of positive result. Opportunity to contest or explain positive test within five days of receiving results.

Important Bulletpoints

  • All costs of required drug testing and confirmation are to be paid by the employer. Any additional costs (i.e. retesting) not required by the employer are payable by the employee or job applicant.
  • Limited testing of job applicants are allowed under the program subject to reasonable classifications of job positions.
  • There are no prohibitions on random testing and other lawful testing procedures.
  • There are no limits to disciplinary action in the case of positive confirmed test results. Employer’s policy must specify any such action which may include ineligibility to workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits.
  • An employer may provide an employee assistance program. If the employer does not provide an employee assistance program, a resource file of employee assistance providers must be maintained. Information and access to such programs and resources must be made known to employees.
  • The employer must provide an education program on substance abuse in general and particularly its effects on the workplace. The education program shall be conducted semi-annually and shall run for one hour. Supervisors shall have an additional 2 hours of training which includes, but is not limited to recognizing signs of employee substance abuse and the actions that may be taken.
  • Collection of specimen must be conducted privately, hygienically and properly labeled to avoid adulteration. Only qualified and approved medical personnel/laboratory must conduct the collection and actual drug tests.
  • An employer has every right to formulate his own company rulings regarding employee use, possession, solicitation or sale of drugs including imprisonment for drug related felony.
  • All test results, information, reports, interviews, statements and such received by the employer from a drug testing laboratory are deemed confidential but may be used in administrative and civil proceedings.

Medical Marijuana Law

Carly’s Law also known Senate Bill 174 became effective June 1, 2014. It was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley on April 1, 2014. It allowed the University of Alabama at Birmingham to study cannabidiol (CBD) oil and its effectiveness in the treatment of epilepsy and other seizure disorders. It was named after 3-year old Carly Chandler of Birmingham, who suffers from a severe neurological disorder.

SB 174 creates an affirmative defense for patients suffering from debilitating epileptic conditions and/or their caregivers for the use and possession of marijuana extracts high in CBD. An affirmative defense DOES NOT protect legitimate epileptic patients and their caregivers from being arrested for possession.

Leni’s Law became effective June 1, 2016. Aka House Bill 61 (HB61), it was signed into law by Governor Robert Bentley on May 4, 2016. It expands Carly’s Law by creating an affirmative defense for the use and possession of cannabidiol with THC level not to exceed 3%, by patients who suffer from specific debilitating conditions (not only epilepsy) that produce seizures; and their parents and/or caregivers. The affirmative defense now also includes patients under the care of physicians other than those connected to UAB provided they have a bona fide physician-patient relationship and the CBD provides the patient with therapeutic or palliative relief.

The law was named after 4-year old Leni Young who suffered a stroke in-utero. She suffers from epilepsy and a rare form of cerebral palsy. She and her family actually left Alabama and moved to Oregon after she was denied access to the cannabidiol study at UAB that was created by virtue of Carly’s Law.

Qualifying Medical Conditions

• Cachexia or wasting-away syndrome

• Chronic or severe pain

• Persistent severe muscle spasms

• Seizures

• Severe nausea

• Other severe conditions that are resistant to conventional medicine


• SB 174 is limited to low-THC extracts.

• SB 174 is limited to epileptic patients only.

• SB 174 requires a prescription by a health care practitioner from the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)

Effects on Workplace Drug Testing

While both legislative actions are generally regarded as positive steps forward for Alabama on the issue of medical marijuana, it can hardly be considered a medical marijuana state, and is a long way from legalizing marijuana for recreational use. It still has some of the harshest penalties in the country as far as marijuana is concerned. Possession of even a single joint is equivalent to up to a year in jail.

The chances of having employees who are suffering from chronic debilitating conditions(and therefore needing CBD) may be slim but employers need to ensure that they are well covered under their existing (if any) drug free workplace policy.


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