Colorado Drug Testing Laws and Regulations



Colorado Drug Testing Law 

The State of Colorado does not have specific legal provisions governing employment and pre-employment drug testing. However, this does not mean that employers are restricted or prohibited from implementing drug policy in the workplace. It also does not mean that employers have free reign on how to conduct drug testing on their employees and prospective employees. Colorado drug testing and alcohol testing procedures are guided by the federal and state laws, such as: the American Disability Act, unemployment and privacy laws. The use of medical marijuana is legal in the State of Colorado. However, there are rigorous rules governing the use of medical marijuana.


Workplace Drug Test Banner


Statute of Order

The State of Colorado has no statutes governing drug and alcohol testing policy in the workplace. However, the State uses the provisions in the American Disability Act, federal and state laws such as unemployment and privacy laws as guidelines in handling drug policy issues in the workplace.

Covered Employers

Public and private employers

Employer Compliance

There are no statutes that restrict employers to conduct drug and alcohol testing. Hence, they are free to do so, for as long as they do not violate the rights of individuals, such as the privacy and discrimination.

Applicant Testing

Employers have the prerogative to require drug and alcohol testing for applicants.

Employee Testing

Employers are free to require drug and alcohol testing on their employees. Testing must be required only when utterly needed.

Conditions and Methods 

  • Applicant testing – employers are permitted to require applicants to be tested for drug and alcohol under the following circumstances:
  • Applicants have been informed in writing about the testing requirement.
  • The testing procedure is conducted in compliance with set rules.
  • Applicants must be given a copy of the positive result. Employers must keep the information confidential.
  • Employee testing – employers are not allowed to conduct random testing, except if there is a strong reasonable suspicion.

Important Bullet Points

  • Accidents in the workplace .
  • Employee benefits may be reduced if proven to be intoxicated with alcohol at the time of the accident.
  • If the quality of job performance is diminished due to the employee’s use of drugs or alcohol outside of the workplace, the said employee may be disqualified from getting benefits.

Medical Marijuana Law

On November 7, 2000 Colorado passed Amendment 20 - The Colorado Medical Use of Marijuana via a 53.53% vote. It amended Colorado's constitution to allow marijuana use for approved/qualified patients with written medical consent. The law allowed patients to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana and cultivate up to 6 marijuana plants (with a maximum of only 3 mature flowering plants at any one time).

Qualifying Medical Conditions

• Chronic pain

• Cancer

• Disorders characterized by seizures like Epilepsy

• Glaucoma


• Long-term nervous system disorders

• Multiple sclerosis and other disorders characterized by muscle spasticity

• Severe nausea

• Wasting-away syndrome or Cachexia


• Qualified patients may not use marijuana in public or where they are in plain view;

• Qualified patients may not operate a vehicle or machinery after medicating;

• Qualified patients may only fill prescriptions at designated and approved medical marijuana dispensaries

Recreational Marijuana Law

Colorado Amendment 64 was enacted on November 6, 2012 and was first implemented in 2014 under Article 18 - Section 16 of the Colorado State Constitution. It allowed adults 21 years or older to use and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to 6 plants (no more than 3 should be mature flowering plants).


Cultivating marijuana is only allowed in private spaces not accessible to the public;

• Individuals who cultivate marijuana can legally possess all the marijuana from the plants they grow as long as the products stay where they were grown, but can only legally possess up to 1 ounce while travelling;

• Individuals can give as a gift (no remuneration) only up to 1 ounce of marijuana to other adults 21 years or older;

• Limits for marijuana edibles or retail concentrate is 8g or 1oz of flower;

• Driving under the influence of marijuana is prohibited.

Effects on Workplace Drug Testing

Under Article XVIII Section 14-10b of the Colorado Constitution, it is stated that, "Nothing in this section shall require any employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any work place".

Under Article XVIII Section 16-6a of the Colorado Constitution, it is stated that, "Nothing in this section 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".

Both provisions do not affect the rights of employers both public and private, to keep their workplaces drug and alcohol free. They are under no obligation to allow employees to possess, use, display, transfer, transport, sell or grow marijuana in the workplace.

Employers who do not already have a drug testing policy in place are completely free to build one that explicitly addresses employee marijuana use while at work or reporting for work while under the influence. Existing drug-free workplace policies remain in effect in the interest of maintaining employee performance, safety and productivity.



Law applies to physicians, patients and caregivers

Quantity Allowed

Less than or equal to 2oz or 6 plants with only 3 able to produce usable product. Patient may raise an affirmative defense if greater amount is needed for debilitating condition.

How Obtained

Growing is permitted but details not specified.

Liability Protections

Physicians: protected from criminal prosecution when recommending Marijuana for medical use Patients and Caregivers: have an affirmative defense if physician diagnosed and advised use of Medical Marijuana permitted quantity and if registered with I.D. Card.

Statutory Requirements for Authorized Use

Registry Card required. Must be Colorado resident and registered with Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Current Colorado physician diagnosis required (2 physicians diagnosis required for minors). Annual renewal with written documentation provided.

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Material on these pages (state drug testing laws and drug testing regulations) is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, medical or technical advice. This drug testing related information is not intended as substitute for obtaining legal advice from attorney, or a relevant medical technical or financial professional. TestCountry is not a law firm or a legal agency, therefore cannot guarantee the accuracy of this content. Drug testing laws are collected from legal and/or state sources, and it may or may not be valid by the time you are viewing it. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Confirm BioSciences Inc. DBA TestCountry.