In The News

DEA: Marijuana Remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance

August 12, 2016
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that marijuana wouldn’t be rescheduled and would remain a Scheduled I controlled substance. The DEA press release can be found below.
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
(202) 307-7977
Press Release


WASHINGTON – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced several marijuana- related actions, including actions regarding scientific research and scheduling of marijuana, as well as principles on the cultivation of industrial hemp under the Agricultural Act of 2014.

DEA Publishes Responses to Two Pending Petitions to Reschedule Marijuana
DEA has denied two petitions to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In response to the petitions, DEA requested a scientific and medical evaluation and scheduling recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which was conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in consultation with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Based on the legal standards in the CSA, marijuana remains a schedule I controlled substance because it does not meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse.

In his letter to the petitioners, DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg offered a detailed response outlining the factual and legal basis for the denial of the petitions.

The full response to the petitions can be found in the Federal Register by clicking here (17954) and here (17960).

The DEA and the FDA continue to believe that scientifically valid and well-controlled clinical trials conducted under investigational new drug (IND) applications are the most appropriate way to conduct research on the medicinal uses of marijuana. Furthermore, DEA and FDA believe that the drug approval process is the most appropriate way to assess whether a product derived from marijuana or its constituents is safe and effective and has an accepted medical use. This pathway allows the FDA the important ability to determine whether a product meets the FDA criteria for safety and effectiveness for approval.

Increasing the Number of Authorized Marijuana Manufacturers Supplying Researchers
DEA announced a policy change designed to foster research by expanding the number of DEA- registered marijuana manufacturers. This change should provide researchers with a more varied and robust supply of marijuana. At present, there is only one entity authorized to produce marijuana to supply researchers in the United States: the University of Mississippi, operating under a contract with NIDA. Consistent with the CSA and U.S. treaty obligations, DEA’s new policy will allow additional entities to apply to become registered with DEA so that they may grow and distribute marijuana for FDA-authorized research purposes. Click here to read this statement.

This change illustrates DEA’s commitment to working together with the FDA and NIDA to facilitate research concerning marijuana and its components. DEA currently has 350 individuals registered to conduct research on marijuana and its components. Notably, DEA has approved every application for registration submitted by researchers seeking to use NIDA-supplied marijuana to conduct research that HHS determined to be scientifically meritorious.

Statement of Principles Concerning Industrial Hemp and the Agricultural Act of 2014
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in consultation with DEA and the FDA, also released a statement of principles concerning provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014 relating to the cultivation of industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is a low-concentration THC variety of the cannabis plant intended to be used for industrial purposes (e.g., fiber and seed). This statement of principles is intended to inform the public, including institutions of higher education and State departments of agriculture, how Federal law applies to activities associated with industrial hemp that is grown and cultivated in accordance with Section 7606 of the Agricultural Act of 2014.

Click here to view the statement of principles.

This statement of principles outlines the legalized growing and cultivating of industrial hemp for research purposes under certain conditions, such as in States where growth and cultivation are legal under State law. The 2014 Act did not remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances and, with certain limited exceptions, the requirements of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the CSA continue to apply to industrial hemp-related activities. The statement of principles addresses questions including the extent to which private parties may grow industrial hemp as part of an agricultural pilot program, the circumstances under which the sale of hemp products is permitted, and other related topics.

Click here to view DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg’s letter to the petitioners.

OSHA Delays Post-Accident Testing Ruling Due to NAM Lawsuit

July 14, 2016

One day after the filing of a memorandum and emergency motion by the Manufacturers Center for Legal Action (MCLA) seeking to enjoin the implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) new injury and illness rule, the Department of Labor announced a delay in enforcement of the new rule until November 1, 2016.

In May, OSHA issued a final rule to expand electronic record-keeping requirements for workplace injuries and illnesses and make such records publicly available. The new rule, which takes full effect Jan. 1, 2017, with the provisions being challenged previously set to take effect August 10, 2016, requires certain employers to electronically submit injury and illness data that they are already required to record on their on-site OSHA Injury and Illness forms. It also contained questionable statements in the preamble regarding post-accident testing causing much concern for employers and the drug testing industry.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), along with other organizations, filed the challenge against OSHA’s electronic record-keeping rule on Friday. The coalition has asked the court to declare that the rule is unlawful because it prohibits or otherwise limits incident-based employer safety incentive programs and/or routine mandatory post-accident drug testing programs.

See the NAM press release here.

Workforce QA Statement: OSHA Final Rule Involving Post-Accident Drug Testing

June 2, 2016

On May 12, 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a final rule entitled Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses which amended 29 CFR Parts 1904 and 1902. The amendment to section 1904.35, effective August 10, 2016, may impact your post-accident drug and alcohol testing program.

While there is substantial discussion of employer required post-accident testing in the preamble to the rule, there is no specific mention of post-accident testing in section 1904.35 of the regulation. OSHA’s concern in amending the regulation is that employers’ post-accident testing policies should not discourage or deter employees’ reporting of workplace injuries. In the discussion about post-accident drug testing in the preamble, OSHA concludes “To strike the appropriate balance here, drug testing policies should limit post-incident testing to situations in which employee drug use is likely to have contributed to the incident, and for which the drug test can accurately identify impairment caused by drug use.”

WorkforceQA is actively reviewing the final rule and is seeking clarification of several points from OSHA in order to provide our clients with recommendations about their post-accident testing policies and programs. The OSHA rule does not impact DOT or other federally mandated post-accident testing. Post-accident drug testing conducted in accordance with state worker’s compensation laws is also not impacted by the new OSHA rule. So, the focus of OSHA’s amended regulation is on the post-accident testing you conduct under your own independent authority as an employer.

We encourage you to review your current post-accident testing language. In particular, assess if you have any mechanism for determining that an employee’s actions or behavior contributed to the accident and could be reasonably associated with drug use. Broadly applied post-accident testing in which the accident or injury itself is the only trigger for testing is likely to be contrary to the intent of OSHA’s Workplace Injury Reporting amendment.

WFQA will provide additional guidance and recommendations as our review and inquiries progress. We expect to have an additional update with more detailed information within the next two weeks. For your information, the OSHA final rule, including the extensive preamble is attached (the primary section discussing post-accident drug testing can be found on 29672 and 29673).


WorkforceQA Announces the Acquisition of EDPM, Inc.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, November 4, 2015 — WorkforceQA announced today that it has acquired EDPM, Inc., a third party administrator of employment screening programs. Both companies are nationwide leaders in managing drug testing, background screening, and other safety-related programs for employers.

By acquiring EDPM, WorkforceQA is able to complement its leadership in DOT compliance solutions for the trucking and aviation industries with new online compliance and training services. EDPM also brings a strong and seasoned management team in the industry, including Dr. Donna Smith and Dennis Bennett, two of the principal architects of the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing regulations. Anoop Mishra, EDPM’s Chief Operating Officer for the last 12 years, will assume the role of Chief Executive Officer for WorkforceQA.

The acquisition will enable EDPM’s customers to leverage WorkforceQA’s robust technology and software solutions as well as an in-house team of Medical Review Officers to provide unparalleled support for regulated and non-regulated drug/alcohol testing services.

“We are thrilled to acquire such a strong and well-respected market leader in EDPM,” said WorkforceQA Board Chairman Eric Quilter. “Their core focus on customer service and compliance as well as their diverse customer base provide an ideal fit for WorkforceQA’s business strategy and growth prospects.”

Chuck Ash, Co-Founder and CEO of EDPM, Inc., noted: “We have known Eric and his team at WorkforceQA for 20+ years. I have no doubt that the synergies between the two companies’ service offerings, technology, and management expertise will yield tremendous value for our customers and help to lead the industry in innovative solutions for the future.”

WorkforceQA will retain EDPM’s offices and core presence in Birmingham, Alabama, while maintaining company headquarters in Salt Lake City.