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Drug Testing in Missouri: What Employers Need to Know

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In recent years, drug testing in the workplace has become an important issue for employers in Missouri. With the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes in 2018, employers have had to evaluate their drug testing policies and adapt to the changing legal landscape. This article will provide an overview of the key considerations and best practices for employers when it comes to drug testing in Missouri.

Drug Testing in Missouri

Understanding Missouri’s Marijuana Laws

In 2018, Missouri legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. However, the law prohibits the use of marijuana in the workplace or during work hours. It’s important for employers to note that the legalization of medical marijuana does not change existing drug testing policies or obligations.

Federal employers and contractors, as well as employers in certain regulated professions involved in safety-sensitive jobs, must still comply with federal laws relating to drug testing. However, for all other Missouri employers, the decision to test for marijuana in a pre-employment drug screen or conduct marijuana testing of current employees is at their discretion.

The Tight Labor Market and Marijuana Testing

The current labor market presents unique challenges for employers in Missouri. With a significant increase in job openings and a limited pool of qualified candidates, employers are looking for ways to attract and retain talent. One potential solution is to re-evaluate marijuana testing policies.

As of February 2022, over a quarter million Missourians had applied for medical marijuana use, and the number of applicants is expected to continue to rise. By eliminating marijuana screenings, employers can broaden their applicant pool and potentially find qualified candidates who may have otherwise been excluded.

Evaluating Your Drug Testing Policy

When considering whether to modify or eliminate marijuana testing policies, employers should focus on creating a safe workplace. While marijuana can remain detectable in occasional users’ blood, urine, and hair for 5 to 10 days, and even longer for regular users, a positive test only indicates past use within the last 30 days.

It’s important to note that Missouri law does not require employers to allow employees to use medical marijuana in the workplace, even if they hold a valid medical marijuana card. Employers can still prohibit marijuana use during work hours and ensure that employees are not impaired while on the job.

Best Practices for Employers

To navigate the changing landscape of drug testing in Missouri, employers should consider the following best practices:

1. Review and Update Drug Testing Policies

Employers should review their drug testing policies to ensure they are up to date with the latest legal requirements and considerations. This includes determining whether to test for marijuana in pre-employment screenings and whether to conduct marijuana testing of current employees.

2. Consult Legal Counsel

Given the complex nature of drug testing laws, it’s advisable for employers to consult with legal counsel to ensure their policies are in compliance with federal and state regulations. Legal counsel can provide guidance on specific issues related to drug testing in the workplace.

3. Communicate Policies Clearly

Employers should clearly communicate their drug testing policies to employees. This includes providing written policies, conducting training sessions, and ensuring employees understand the consequences of violating the policies.

4. Consider Safety-Sensitive Positions

For employers with safety-sensitive positions, such as those involving machinery operation or public safety, it may be necessary to continue marijuana testing to maintain a safe working environment. However, employers should consult with legal counsel to ensure they are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

5. Stay Informed and Adapt

As laws and regulations surrounding marijuana use continue to evolve, it’s important for employers to stay informed and adapt their policies accordingly. Regularly review legal updates and industry best practices to ensure compliance and the safety of your workplace.

In order to take the first step towards evaluation, it is advised to proactively to undergo the necessary tests.


Drug testing in the workplace is a complex issue for employers in Missouri, especially in light of the legalization of medical marijuana. By understanding the legal requirements, reviewing and updating policies, and staying informed, employers can navigate the challenges of drug testing and create a safe and productive work environment.

Remember to consult with legal counsel to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. By following best practices and adapting to the changing landscape, employers can effectively manage drug testing in Missouri.

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