Wanta Cited in Article on Marijuana Testing in the Workplace

June 22, 2018 – Firm partner Shawn Wanta was quoted in the July 2018 issue of Twin Cities Business in an article concerning marijuana testing in the employment setting. Entitled “To Test or Not to Test,” the article reports that as states legalize marijuana use, and with the current low unemployment rate, employers are increasingly dropping pre-employment marijuana testing for jobs that do not legally require it (e.g. drivers).

Minnesota is one of 29 states that permits the use of medical cannabis, and one of nine states that has enacted explicit employment anti-discrimination protections for medical marijuana registry participants. Despite these changes to the law, some companies continue to have blanket policies that deny employment to anyone who tests positive for medical cannabis without exception. Such is the case with warehouse retail giant Costco.

The article cites the lawsuit recently filed in Minnesota federal district court by Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LPP on behalf of Chris Sonterre, a Costco job applicant who was medically prescribed medical marijuana following a traumatic brain injury and enrolled in Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Program. After receiving a preliminary offer of employment, Sonterre was sent for a mandatory drug test and tested positive for cannabis. Although he produced documentation showing his enrollment in the Cannabis Program, Costco told Sonterre that its policy was to deny employment to anyone testing positive for marijuana without exception. Shawn Wanta is one of the attorneys representing Sonterre in his case against Costco. The lawsuit, Sonterre et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, 0:18-cv-00245-PJS-FLN (D. Minn.), asserts that Costco’s blanket policy violates the Minnesota statutes protecting medical marijuana users as well as the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Additional reading on Sonterre v. Costco can be found here: Minnesota Medical Marijuana Law Tested in BTJW Case Against Costco.