Minnesota Drug Testing Laws and Regulations



Statute of Order

Minn. Stat. §181.950 et seq.

Covered Employers

Public and private employers.

Applicant Testing

Applicant testing authorized, pursuant to employer's written policy and with advance notification of applicant, only after offer of employment has been made and only if all candidates for job are tested.

Employee Testing

Employee testing is authorized after an accident, as part of an employee assistance program, when there is reasonable suspicion of substance abuse, or part of annual physical exam, provided the employee has two weeks' advance notice. Random testing is authorized of employees in safety-sensitive jobs. Employer may suspend or transfer the employee who test positive pending outcome of confirming test. Discharge is authorized only if employee refuses or fails to complete treatment.

Conditions & Methods

Testing only by certified laboratory, documentation showing chain of custody, and confirming test in case of positive findings. Confidentiality of test results.

Important Bulletpoint

  • The employer must provide a written drug and alcohol testing policy that is in compliance with the Authorized Drug and Alcohol Testing statute of the State of Minnesota. However, employers are not charged with a legal duty to require drug and alcohol testing to their employees as authorized by law.
  • Employees have the right to refuse drug testing but are nevertheless subject to compliant employment action as per the employer’s policies. Refusal to undergo testing for chemical dependency does not make an employee ineligible to workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits.
  • Though drug testing for employees and job applicants in the private sector is a prerogative of the employer, drug testing is mandatory for safety-sensitive jobs such as management or supervisory position where any impairment caused by substance abuse could put to risk the safety or health of another person.
  • Apart from safety sensitive positions, random drug testing may be performed only for professional athletes and only in accordance to any existing collective bargaining agreements applicable for said athlete if such agreement permits random testing.
  • Reasonable suspicion testing is allowed if the employee is suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs; has an injury or caused injury to another person; figured in a work-related accident; or violated employer’s rules regarding the possession, use, sale or transport of alcohol or drugs.
  • The costs of medical examination required by employers to their employees or applicants as a prerequisite or condition of employment is payable by the employer. In the case of a confirmed positive test and the employee requests for a confirmatory retest, which should be done within 5 days, the full cost of the retesting shall be at the employee’s expense.
  • First time offenders must be given the opportunity to participate in an employee assistance program if provided by the employer or, as an alternative, a suitable drug or alcohol rehabilitation program at the employee’s expense.
  • An employee who was previously diagnosed as chemically dependent or has failed to complete a treatment program or otherwise control the dependency may be discharged for employment misconduct. The employee would thereby be denied of his or her unemployment benefits.
  • An employee who tested positive in his drug test is given three days after receiving his results to explain. He may challenge the positive results through a confirmatory retest at his own expense.

Medical Marijuana Law

Minnesota's Medical Marijuana Law came to be on May 29, 2014 when Gov. Mark Dayton signed SF 2470 into law. It took effect May 30, 2014. It removed the state-level criminal penalties for the cultivation, use and possession of marijuana by qualifying patients who have recommendations from their physicians stating that they may benefit from the medical use of marijuana. Two separate 2016 amendments added "intractable pain" and PTSD to the list of qualifying medical conditions.

Qualifying Medical Conditions


• Cancer, if the underlying condition or treatment produces the following:

• severe or chronic pain

• nausea or severe vomiting

• cachexia or wasting away

• Inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn's disease

• Glaucoma


• Intractable pain


• Seizures including epilepsy

• Severe and persistent muscle spasms including multiple sclerosis

• Terminal illness, if the illness or its treatment produces the following:

• severe or chronic pain

• nausea or severe vomiting

• cachexia or wasting away

• Tourette's syndrome

• Any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the commissioner.


• Undertaking any task under the influence of medical cannabis if such act constitutes negligence or professional malpractice;

• Possessing or using cannabis for medical purposes on a school bus or van, on the grounds of any preschool or primary or secondary school, in any correctional facility, or on the grounds of any child care facility or home daycare is prohibited;

• Vaporizing medical cannabis on any form of public transportation where the vapor would be inhaled by a nonpatient minor child, or in any public place, including any indoor or outdoor area used by or open to the general public, or a place of employment is prohibited;

• Operating, navigating, or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or motorboat, or working on transportation property, equipment, or facilities while under the influence of medical cannabis.

Recreational Marijuana Law

Minnesota does not allow any form of citizen initiated ballot measures, so all ballot measures must be referred by the legislature.3 The legislative session was called to order January 3, 2017 and marijuana legalization supporters are calling on their fellow citizens to ask their lawmakers to end prohibition by embracing a responsible system of taxation and regulation of marijuana cultivation and sales.4

Effects on Workplace Drug Testing

The Medical Marijuana Law explicitly states under Section 12 Subdivision 3c and 3d - Discrimination prohibited, that:

(c) Unless a failure to do so would violate federal law or regulations or cause an employer to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulations, an employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment, or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon either of the following:

(1) the person's status as a patient enrolled in the registry program under sections 152.22 to 152.37.

(2) a patient's positive drug test for cannabis components or metabolites, unless the patient used, possessed, or was impaired by medical cannabis on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment.

(d) An employee who is required to undergo employer drug testing pursuant to section 181.953 may present verification of enrollment in the patient registry as part of the employee's explanation under section 181.953, subdivision 6.

The law is clear in its protection of both the employee and the employer. Provided both parties observe the provisions of the medical marijuana law, a person's status as a registered medical marijuana patient should have no bearing on his employment status. Likewise, in the interest of maintaining employee safety, performance and productivity in the workplace, an employer has every right to discipline employees who show up for work marijuana-impaired or use marijuana while at work, pursuant to the provisions of existing drug-free workplace policies where such policies clearly address the issue of employee marijuana use in the workplace.







The Minnesota Medical Marijuana Law will apply to authorized physicians, qualifying patients, qualifying visitors and primary caregivers of patients, medical marijuana dispensary or agent. A qualifying visitor is a qualifying patient from another U.S. state, territory and the likes. However, marijuana smoking will still be barred on school grounds, school buses, public transportation, correctional facilities, while operating vehicles, in the presence of a minor.

Quantity Allowed

The allowed usable marijuana on the person of qualifying patients and their designated primary caregivers should not be over 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana, a reasonable amount of not-usable marijuana and 12 marijuana plants.

How Obtained

Cultivation of marijuana is allowed. Buying from an authorized medical marijuana dispensary or agent is allowable.

Liability Protection

Physicians cannot be criminally prosecuted for prescribing or recommending the use of medical marijuana for persons with debilitating disease. Qualifying patients and their primary caregivers are exempted from criminal/civil prosecution for the possession, cultivation, transportation, acquisition, manufacture of marijuana and its related paraphernalia. The property of a qualifying patient used in relation to medical marijuana is exempt from being forfeited.

Statutory Requirements for Authorized Use

The state of Minnesota shall release a registry identification card to qualifying patients and their designated caregiver. Proper identification cards shall be issued out to qualifying patients and caregivers within five days of approval or renewal. Qualifying patients need a prescription or recommendation from licensed physicians to use medical marijuana.

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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.

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