A recent Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals decision awarding workers’ compensation benefits to an injured employee who tested positive for marijuana highlights an issue which will confront Oklahoma employers in the future.

At 11:00 pm on the evening of April 4, 2017, Dillon Rose smoked marijuana before turning in for the night.  Rose worked as a machine operator with Berry Plastics, and his shift began at 7:00 am the following morning.  

After his break, Rose noticed another employee was having problems with a guillotine machine. A piece of plastic was jammed, and the co-worker could not close the machine’s latch. In an attempt to clear the jam, Rose placed his hand into the guillotine machine and tried to remove the jammed piece of plastic. At the same time the co-worker pushed the machine’s operating button, and Rose’s left arm was crushed.

Berry Plastic’s policy prohibited employees from working while impaired. When a post-accident drug test was administered at the emergency room where he received treatment for his injury, Rose tested positive for marijuana. According to Rose, it had been 10 hours since he had smoked marijuana.

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