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Cannabis Policy for Home Care Agencies- What your home care agency or LHCSA needs to know

According to Regulation and Taxation Act “The Act” legalizes Cannabis (Marijuana) for recreational use for ages 21 and over in NY effective March 31st, 2022 but how does that affect home care workers?

Many home care business owners are unclear how this act applies to their agency and have been "going with" "buzz on the street" . Or even what their prospective and current home health aides have been telling them.

We always encourage home care agencies to consult with home care business consultants like Emmanuel Consulting Agency to obtain clarity on home care policies and procedures.

The most common question our clients have about this topic is "does this mean that there are no more drug tests required". The plain answer is no, not necessarily. Employers can still test for other drugs. Every employers should have policies and procedures setting guidelines on if their organization requires a pre-employment and annual drug test. At all times the DOH minimum standards must be upheld which states that

"the health status of all new personnel is assessed and documented prior to assuming patient care duties. The assessment shall be of sufficient scope that no person shall assume his/her duties unless he/she is free from a health impairment which is of potential risk to the patient or which might interfere with the performance of his/her duties, including the habituation or addiction to depressants, stimulants, narcotics, alcohol or other drugs or substances which may alter the individual's behavior;


an annual, or more frequent if necessary, health status assessment to assure that all personnel are free from any health impairment that is of potential risk to the patient, family or to employees or that may interfere with the performance of duties";

So agencies must ensure that this statement is written and check marked on your agency's physical forms- Moreover, physicians wont certify this statement is true if they do not order a drug screening to verify beforehand.

Annual drug screenings are customary and best practice in the industry.

As far as cannabis goes, though the Regulation and Taxation Act “The Act” legalizes Cannabis (Marijuana) for recreational use for ages 21 and over in NY this does not mean that employers must turn a blind eye to cannabis drug usage. There are certain stipulations within this act and employers still have rights under labor laws.

Additionally agencies may be permitted to test for cannabis pursuant to the provisions of Labor Law Section 201-D(4-a) or other applicable laws.

We encourage our clients to have clear and concise drug policies in order to comply and also to set guidelines for your employees. We want our clients to feel confident when orientating new employees and when holding mandatory yearly in-services so that your employees can maintain a drug free workplace.

It is also important to note agencies must uphold all human rights laws and ensure all disabled persons are protected by adult use cannabis and the workplace New York Labor Law 201-D by federal and state law, even if such disability or condition is unknown to the agency.

With regards to specific labor laws and your own individual situations it is best to consult an attorney who is knowledgeable in home care labor laws.

For our clients who are subscribed to our LHCSA Annual Compliance Subscription we will be adding the drug test policy to your portal this week.

If you are in need of a drug testing policy for your home care agency or LHCSA you may contact us.

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