Alaska Drug Testing Laws and Regulations
Statute of Order
Alaska State §23.10.600-23.10.699
Alaska State §14.09.025
All employers, including school districts or regional educational attendance areas.
Applicant testing not restricted. Positive results or refusal may be grounds for not hiring.
- Testing authorized, including random testing, for job-related purpose, consistent with business necessity.
- Thirty days' notice and a written policy statement must be given to employees.
- Discipline or discharge for positive test or refusal to submit to test.
- School bus drivers subject to random testing and discipline under separate provisions.
- Testing can be done only after the employer has established a written policy, in which all employees have the knowledge or access to the information on such policy.
Important Bullet points
Employer Protection from Litigation (AS § 23.10.600)
- Employers are protected from any litigation for any action taken based on the results of the drug and alcohol impairment testing, subject to the provisions of AS §23.10.600-23.10.699.
Employer Policy (AS § 23.10.620)
- Employers must inform employees and prospective employees about the drug and alcohol testing policy in the workplace.
- Drug and alcohol testing may be required for employees and prospective employees for job-related purposes in line with the employer’s policy and business needs. Testing for drug and alcohol impairment may be conducted for the following reasons:
- To investigate probable drug abuse and alcohol intoxication of particular employees.
- To investigate work-related accidents in order to rule out the possibility of drug or alcohol impairment as contributing factor to the accident.
- To keep a safe working environment for all employees and protect the safety of clients and the general public.
- To ensure high productivity and delivery of quality goods and services to the customers.
- To safeguard business property and information.
- To verify reasonable suspicion of drug and alcohol abuse, which could adversely affect job performance or work environment
- Drug and alcohol testing policy must have the following basic information:
- Employer policy statements regarding drug and alcohol use by its employees.
- Description of employees and prospective employees who will be tested for drug and alcohol use or abuse
- The circumstances in which testing will be mandatory.
- The substances in which the employees or prospective employees will be tested.
- Description of the procedures for testing and sample collection.
- The right of the employees to verify initial test results to be reviewed by a licensed doctor of osteopathy.
- The consequences for refusal to undergo drug and alcohol testing.
- Action to be taken by employers based on the results of the tests.
- The right of employees to request for a written copy of the test results and the obligation of employers to provide copies of the test results after receipt of written request – so long as the request is made six months subsequent to the date of the test.
- The right of employees to request for a confidential venue to explain positive drug or alcohol test results. If an employee makes this kind of request in writing within 10 days after receiving the notice, the employer must provide the opportunity within 72 hours before taking action.
- Employer’s statement of confidentiality of the test results.
Collection of Samples (AS §23.10.630)
- Sample collection must be conducted reasonably, hygienically, thoroughly to avoid adulteration and misidentification, and with utmost respect for the privacy of the individual.
- The actual costs of drug and alcohol testing for employees and prospective employees must be paid for by the employers. If the testing center is in a location away from the workplace, the employers must pay for the transportation cost.
Disciplinary Procedures (AS §23.10.655)
- The following shall be the employer’s basis for disciplinary or adverse employment action:
- A positive result in the drug and alcohol testing is a violation of the employers’ drug and alcohol policy.
- Refusal of an employee or prospective employee to provide samples for the drug and alcohol testing.
- Employment action under AS 23.10.600-23.10.699 includes, but not limited to, the following:
- Employee will be required to participate in a counselling or rehabilitation program provided by the employer. The cost of the program may or may not be paid for by the employer. The employer has the right to require such treatment program as a condition for employment.
- Suspension for a period of time, with or without pay
- Termination of employment
- Turn down the initial job offer to a prospective employee
Drug and Alcohol Testing for school bus drivers (AS §14.09.025)
- For the safety of school children, schools and other educational institutions that provide transportation service, employers have the right to require drug testing, including random testing, to all the drivers.
- Testing procedures and disciplinary actions shall be imposed in accordance with the provisions of the law.
Medical Marijuana Law
Measure 8 or the Alaska Medical Marijuana Initiative was on the November 3, 1998 ballot, passed and became effective March 4, 1999. The bill allowed qualified patients the use of marijuana for medical purposes. A physician must find a patient to be suffering from a debilitating medical condition that may benefit from marijuana use. An eligible minor may avail of medical marijuana upon the consent and control of a parent. Patients and their caregivers are protected from criminal charges as long as said patients appear in a state-managed registry of qualified patients.
Qualifying Medical Conditions
• HIV/AIDS, or treatment for any of these conditions
• Any chronic or debilitating disease or treatment of such diseases, which produces one or more of the following:
•chronic or severe pain
•seizures including epilepsy
•persistent muscle spasms including multiple sclerosis
• Other conditions may be added at any time subject to the approval of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
• Only licensed physicians may authorize the medical use of marijuana
• Patients could only possess a limited amount of marijuana
• Medical use of marijuana in public is prohibited.
Recreational Marijuana Law
In November of 2014, Ballot Measure 2– The Alaska Marijuana Legalization was approved. Fully titled “An Act to Tax and Regulate the Production, Sale, and Use of Marijuana”, this measure made it legal for an adult 21 years or older to:
• Possess, use, display, purchase or transport up to 1 ounce of marijuana or marijuana accessories;
• Possess, grow, process or transport up to 6 marijuana plants (a maximum of only 3 can be mature, flowering plants) and possess marijuana produced by said plants on the premises where they were grown;
• Transfer up to 1 ounce of marijuana and up to 6 immature marijuana plants to another adult 21 years or older without remuneration;
• Consume of marijuana in private; and
• Assist another adult 21 years or older in any of the acts described in (a) through (d).
The acts described above are legal on state level only. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. It is also explicitly stated that public consumption of marijuana is likewise unlawful and is punishable by a fine of up to $100.00. The other specific limitations are as follows:
• Cultivation of marijuana plants shall be undertaken where the plants are not openly visible to public view without the help of optical aids like binoculars, long-range cameras, aircraft etc.
• Any person who undertakes the cultivation of marijuana must ensure that the plants are kept secure from unauthorized access.
• Cultivation of marijuana may only be undertaken on property that is under lawful ownership or possession of the cultivator; or with the consent of the person who has lawful ownership or possession of said property.
Measure 2 does not impact the rights and privileges of medical marijuana users/patients or medical marijuana caregivers as provided for under AS 17.37.
Effects on Workplace Drug Testing
Under Alaska Statutes Sec. 17.38.120(a), it is stated that “Nothing in this chapter is intended to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of employers to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees”.
Employers are not required to allow marijuana use in the workplace or let employees report for work if they are under the influence or in any way impaired by marijuana use. Existing drug-free workplace policies remain in effect and employees are still expected to adhere to company regulations in the interest of maintaining employee performance, safety and productivity.
For Further Reading:
Law applies to patient, caregiver and alternate caregiver and physician
Less than or equal to 1oz. Usable, 6 plants with only 3 able to produce usable product
Growing permitted, otherwise not specified
Patient and caregiver have defense if criminally prosecuted if registered and in compliance with the law.
Statutory Requirements for Authorized Use
Registry Card required and obtained from State Department of Health and Human Services. Statement signed by physician, sworn application from patient, statement form parent or guardian and annual renewal.
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