Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently issued a guidance memorandum rescinding several Obama-era Justice Department memoranda regarding federal marijuana enforcement.
The Sessions Memo did not in any way change federal law – the use, sale, and distribution of marijuana has been continuously illegal under federal law since 1970. It did, however, change Justice Department guidance regarding enforcement of that law. For North and South Carolina employers with Drug-Free Workplace policies, this change should have little substantive impact. It could, however, be misconstrued by employees, and the memo highlights several other important considerations for employers.
Controlled Substances Act
Vowing to once-and-for-all win the “war on drugs,” Congress passed (by a 396-7 margin) and President Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (CSA). The CSA established federal drug control policy and, among other things, created five “schedules” or “classifications” for regulating substances. Each substance is “scheduled” on a 1 to 5 scale, based on a list of varying qualifications. Schedule 1 (the highest) contains the most tightly regulated substances, because they have a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical