Texas Employers and THC: What You Need to Consider for Drug Testing

As educational information and updates on THC in Texas continue to be a topic of interest, it is crucial for employers to understand their rights and obligations when it comes to drug testing. With the growing popularity of THC and its medicinal properties, employers need to consider various aspects before implementing drug testing policies. In this article, we will explore the essential factors that Texas employers should consider when dealing with THC and drug testing.

Marijuana Laws in Texas

Texas has strict marijuana laws compared to some other states. As of now, marijuana remains illegal for both medicinal and recreational use. The possession, sale, and cultivation of marijuana are considered criminal offenses in Texas. However, there is an exception for low-THC cannabis oil for individuals with epilepsy who have been prescribed by a qualified physician.

It is important for employers to note that even though marijuana use is illegal in Texas, the state does not prohibit drug testing in the workplace.

Employer Rights and Obligations

In Texas, private employers have the right to implement drug testing policies and enforce them as part of their hiring process or during employment. However, it is crucial for employers to adhere to certain guidelines and regulations to avoid potential legal issues.

Written Policy

Employers should have a written drug testing policy clearly outlined in their employee handbook or employment contracts. This policy should specify the circumstances under which drug testing will be conducted, the procedures involved, and the consequences of a positive test result.


Employers should ensure that their drug testing policies are applied consistently to all employees. Any form of discrimination or bias in the testing process can lead to legal trouble. It is essential to treat all employees fairly and equally.

Notice and Consent

Prior to conducting drug tests, employers should provide clear notice to employees about the company's drug testing policy. Employees should have an opportunity to review and consent to the policy before being subjected to testing.


Employers must maintain confidentiality when it comes to the drug test results of their employees. The information should only be disclosed to those who have a legitimate need to know, such as the employer's designated representative or legal authorities.

Reasonable Suspicion

Drug testing can be conducted if there is reasonable suspicion of drug use by an employee. However, employers should have clear guidelines in place to define what constitutes reasonable suspicion and should document the observations or behaviors that led to suspicion.

Post-Accident Testing

After an accident occurs in the workplace, employers may conduct drug testing on employees involved in the incident. This is done to determine if drug use played a role in the accident and to ensure a safe working environment.

THC's Impact on Drug Testing

THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, can present challenges for employers when conducting drug tests. Unlike alcohol or other drugs, THC can remain detectable in the body for an extended period, which makes it difficult to determine if an employee was impaired at the time of testing.


The most common method of drug testing is urinalysis, which can detect the presence of THC metabolites. However, it is important to note that a positive test result does not necessarily indicate current impairment or intoxication. THC metabolites can stay in the body for days or even weeks after marijuana use.

Oral Fluid Tests

Oral fluid tests, commonly known as saliva tests, are gaining popularity as they can potentially indicate recent marijuana use. These tests detect the presence of THC within a few hours of consumption. However, their use is not as widespread as urinalysis and may not be as reliable.

Challenges and Limitations

Employers face challenges when interpreting the results of drug tests due to the limitations of current testing methods. Positive test results can raise legal questions regarding impairment at work, especially when it comes to employees who use THC for medicinal purposes.

Additionally, certain factors such as secondhand exposure to marijuana smoke or the use of CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC can lead to positive test results even if the employee did not use marijuana directly.

Considerations for Employers

When dealing with THC and drug testing, Texas employers should take various factors into account to ensure fair and effective policies.

Legal Expertise

It is advisable for employers to consult legal professionals specializing in employment law to develop drug testing policies that comply with Texas state laws and regulations. Legal experts can guide employers on the specific requirements and potential pitfalls related to drug testing.

Accommodation for Medicinal THC Use

Employers should consider accommodating employees who are legally using low-THC cannabis oil for medicinal purposes. It is recommended to engage in an interactive process with these employees to determine if any accommodations can be made without compromising safety or work performance.

Education and Awareness

Employers should invest in educating their employees about the company's drug testing policies, the potential impact of THC on test results, and the legal consequences of marijuana use in the workplace. By promoting awareness, employers can help employees make informed decisions and minimize risks.

Review and Updating

Drug testing policies should be periodically reviewed and updated to align with any changes in state laws or regulations. Additionally, advancements in drug testing technology should be considered to ensure the most reliable and accurate results.


As THC continues to be a hot topic in Texas, employers must navigate the complexities of drug testing policies. Employers have the right to implement drug testing, but they should do so within the bounds of state laws and regulations. By staying informed, seeking legal advice, and maintaining consistency and fairness, employers can create drug testing policies that protect their business while upholding the rights of their employees.