Georgia Drug Testing Laws and Regulations



Statute of Order

Ga. Code Ann. §45- 23-1 et seq. §45-20-110 et seq., 34-9-410 et seq.

Covered Employers

State government employers, public schools, and entities that furnish transportation services to school systems; private employers.

Applicant Testing

Testing authorized of applicants for state government employment, public school employment, and private employment. Applicant who refuses to be tested or who tests positive may be barred from state and public school employment for 2 years.

Employee Testing

Testing authorized, including random testing, on reasonable suspicion, as part of routine fitness-for-duty exam, after an on- the-job injury, and as part of follow-up to rehabilitation. Policy must be distributed to employees and posted. Testing confers eligibility for certain discounts and other benefits under the state's workers' compensation law. Random testing of "high risk" state government and public school employees including school bus drivers is authorized under separate provisions.

Conditions & Methods

Methods to assure privacy for employee in collection of specimen, and methods of collection, storage, and transportation that ensure noncontamination of specimen, and confidentiality of test. Confirming test after positive result.

Important Bulletpoints

  • Compliance to the program entitles employees to a 7.5% worker’s compensation premium discount.
  • Self-insured employers are eligible for the voluntary drug-free workplace program credit by filing the appropriate form for certification.
  • Job applicants who have been awarded an offer for employment are required by law to be tested for substance abuse.
  • On-site testing is allowed under the voluntary program. Random testing is also permitted. However, neither on-site testing nor random testing is a requirement for program compliance.
  • Only trained and certified persons are qualified to conduct substance abuse testing for purposes of the voluntary drug-free workplace program. The list includes, among others, an employer representative who is trained to collect specimens following approved chain of custody procedures.
  • Post-rehabilitation drug testing may be required by the employer as a follow-up in cases where the employee underwent an employee assistance program or approved rehabilitation program because of an earlier positive drug test. For employees voluntarily entering such a program, follow-up testing is not mandatory
  • The analysis of a Medical Review Officer is strongly recommended by not necessarily a requirement for compliance
  • As a requirement for the first year certification of a drug-free workplace program, employers must provide two hours of substance abuse education plus another 2 hours of related training for supervisors. Training for supervisors may be reduced to 1 hour per year for subsequent years.
  • Contractors with state projects amounting to $25,000 and up must present a certification that they have substance abuse prevention program.
  • All public employees in high-risk jobs can be randomly tested for drug and alcohol testing. If he/she refused to take the random drug test or in the event that the drug test result is positive, the employer has the right to terminate the employee.
  • An employee found to be under the influence of controlled substances or drugs during an accident (leading to injury or death) may be disqualified from receiving remuneration or benefits.
  • An employer who discriminates particular groups of employees i.e. gender, race or age for drug testing is likely to face discrimination claim.

Medical Marijuana

Georgia's House Bill 1, aka Haleigh's Hope Act was signed into law on April 16, 2015 by Governor Nathan Deal. It allows the use of cannabis oil with less than 5% THC for patients suffering from specific medical conditions. The law created a Low THC Oil Registry website for patients and physicians. This patient registry is managed by the Department of Public Health.

Qualifying Medical Conditions


• Cancer

• Crohn's disease

• Mitochondrial disease

• Multiple sclerosis

• Parkinson's disease

• Seizure disorders

• Sickle cell disease

Qualified patients may possess only up to 20 ounces of low-THC (high-CBD) cannabis oil.


• Only oral administration of the medical cannabis oil is allowed - smoking is not.

• Recreational uses of cannabis oil are not allowed.

• Other medical uses outside of the 8 qualifying conditions remain illegal.

• Possession of a whole marijuana plant is not allowed.

• No in-state cultivation, sale or processing of cannabis is allowed.

• No dispensaries have been set up to supply the low-THC cannabis oil in- state, and patients remain in violation of federal and other states laws if they bring cannabis across state lines.

Effects on Workplace Drug Testing

House Bill 1 has no effect on the state's workplace drug testing laws. Employers who do not already have an existing drug test policy are totally within their rights to build one that explicitly addresses employee marijuana use in the interest of maintaining employee performance, safety and productivity.


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