Reprinted from the Washington Times

D.C. Council hears comments on marijuana allowance for workers

Bills weigh medical pot discrimination, job seeker testing

This photo taken Oct. 16, 2013 shows marijuana clone plants that are used to grow medical marijuana displayed under a light, at The Joint, a medical marijuana cooperative in Seattle. It took nearly 15 years after voters approved it for medical marijuana to become available in the District of Columbia, but the next major change to the district’s pot laws is on the fast track. The D.C. Council is poised to approve a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot, and Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray supports it. He could sign the bill into law as early as January.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) **FILE**
– The Washington Times – Wednesday, September 25, 2019

A representative for building contractors stressed Wednesday the importance of drug testing in her industry during a D.C. Council hearing on legislation that would bar local businesses from testing job applicants who use medical marijuana.

“We absolutely cannot risk a person working who might be impaired if they are working on our natural gas lines, if they are working on clean drinking water,” Debora Harvey, executive director of the National Utility Contractors Association D.C. chapter, told the Labor and Workforce Development Committee.

The committee took comments from marijuana policy advocates, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners and business officials in a public hearing on two pieces of legislation dealing with how employers treat workers who use medical and recreational marijuana.

“What is permissible when it comes to marijuana use in our city is not straightforward,” council member Elissa Silverman, at-large independent and committee chair, said at the start of the hearing. “It is easy to be confused by what is allowable and what isn’t. It’s especially confusing for employers and employees.”

Council member David Grosso, at-large independent, has introduced a bill that would prohibit the city government from discriminating in hiring medical marijuana users. The Medical Marijuana Program Patient Employment Protection Amendment Act of 2019 includes jobs considered safety sensitive, unlike a similar emergency bill the council voted on earlier this year.

Council member Trayon White, Ward 8 Democrat, has introduced the Prohibition of Marijuana Testing Act of 2019, which would prohibit businesses from using marijuana testing as a condition of employment. It does not include safety sensitive positions, such as police officers, persons in charge of care of children or jobs that require commercial driver’s license.

“Currently our job-seeking residents are exercising their legal rights to use marijuana, but they are punished by not being able to find employment,” Mr. White said.

D.C. measures legalizing medical marijuana went into effect in 2011 and recreational marijuana in 2015. The drug is still outlawed by the federal government.

“Our thinking on marijuana from a criminal justice perspective has evolved, but our thinking on marijuana from an employment perspective is stuck in the last century,” Mr. Grosso said, noting that employment drug policies often affect blacks and working-class people but the leaders of businesses and organizations.

Marijuana policy advocates said safety sensitive positions should be included in the prohibition against drug testing. They noted that marijuana testing does not indicate the level of cognitive impairment and that medical marijuana users often develop a tolerance to the side effects of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot.

“Drug testing doesn’t meet any of the goals folks are drug testing for in the first place,” said Queen Adesuyi, a policy coordinator at the Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs.

But Jim Greer, chairman of the National Drug and Alcohol Screen Association, said that workplaces have a right to declare themselves “drug free” and that insurance companies require marijuana testing for benefits such as worker’s compensation and offer insurance benefits for the drug-free designation.

“Why must employers, after publicly advertising through signage, disclaimers on employment applications and other educational programs, be required by the government to accept conduct that violates the employers ability to manage and control their business?” Mr. Greer said.

Kings Floyd is chair of the D.C. chapter of ADAPT, a national group of disability rights activists. She said that medical marijuana has helped her with her own mental and physical disabilities.

“We are not placing the mindful consumption with people with disabilities, specifically who have managed their medication time and time again, and it prevents us from actively applying to jobs within the District of Columbia for fear of retaliation with both disability stigmas and medical marijuana stigmas,” Ms. Floyd said.

The committee is accepting comment on both bills through Oct. 9


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Rockville, Maryland, August 29, 2019 – Insurance Associates/MMA and the Selective Insurance Group Foundation partnered to support the efforts of Patriot Point through a $1,000 grant. Patriot Point was selected by Insurance Associates/MMA for the grant as part of the Selective ‘President’s Club Matching Gift’ initiative, which allows premier agents the opportunity to make an impact in the communities where they live and work by providing a donation with matching gift from the Foundation.


The President’s Club Matching Gift program is run by the Selective Insurance Group Foundation which is a philanthropic affiliate of Selective Insurance Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SIGI). Together with President’s Club agencies, such as Insurance Associates/MMA, the Foundation has supported thousands of community-based and national nonprofits in regions across the country since the initiative began in 2002.


“The work that Patriot Point does to help our nation’s warriors so they can reconnect with their families, decompress after deployment, and take time to rejuvenate is vital to our community. Our service members face challenges abroad while working to maintain our safety and security so this is a way for us to give back to them” said Stephen A. Spencer, President, Insurance Associates/MMA.


The grant represents a $500 donation from Insurance Associates/MMA, matched by a $500 gift from The Selective Insurance Group Foundation. The grant will help Patriot Point’s efforts to provide a relaxing and safe environment for our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured service members to enjoy outdoor recreation activities with their families.


“Our network of President’s Club agents has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting their local communities in ways that reach far beyond their insurance enterprises,” said Chuck Musilli, Executive Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Distribution Strategies, Selective. “Together with Insurance Associates/MMA, we are proud to award a grant to Patriot Point to help further its mission in supporting our nation’s warriors.”


Now in its eighteenth year, the Selective President’s Club Matching Gift program has more than doubled in size and scale. It has grown from supporting organizations in 11 states in 2002 to reaching charities in 23 states and the District of Columbia in 2018. With the help of 94 of Selective’s top agencies, the program granted more than $45,000 to more than 100 charities in 2018. The initiative aims to support community-based organizations with a variety of missions such as civic organizations, conservation and environmental agencies, educational entities, food banks and shelters, hospitals and hospice centers, military support services and others.



About Insurance Associates, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company

Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC (MMA) is a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Company. MMA was established in 2008 to build out a national middle market platform.  MMA offers surety, business insurance, personal lines, and employee benefits to businesses and individuals across North America.  MMA delivers custom personalization from local consultants while providing access to the worldwide resources of Marsh. MMA is currently one of the largest insurance brokers in the United States. More information is available at



About Marsh

Marsh is the world’s leading insurance broker and risk adviser. With over 35,000 colleagues operating in more than 130 countries, Marsh serves commercial and individual clients with data driven risk solutions and advisory services. Marsh is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), the leading global professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With annual revenue over US$15 billion and 75,000 colleagues worldwide, MMC helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment through four market-leading firms: Marsh, Guy Carpenter, Mercer, and Oliver Wyman. Follow Marsh on Twitter @MarshGlobal; LinkedIn; Facebook; and YouTube, or subscribe to BRINK.



About Selective

Selective Insurance Group, Inc. is a holding company for ten property and casualty insurance companies rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best. Through independent agents, the insurance companies offer standard and specialty insurance for commercial and personal risks, and flood insurance underwritten by the National Flood Insurance Program. Selective maintains a website at

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