Oklahoma Court Holds That Positive Marijuana Drug Test Did Not Prove That Marijuana Caused Accident

October 28, 2019

An Oklahoma state court has held that a positive post-accident drug test for marijuana did not prove that marijuana use caused the accident, and therefore the claimant (Rose) was eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Rose's left hand and wrist were crushed in a “guillotine” machine while working as a machine operator for his employer. He was subjected to a post-accident drug test and tested positive for marijuana. Rose’s workers’ compensation claim initially was denied due to the positive drug test results. At a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ), Rose admitted that he smoked marijuana the night before the accident but denied that its use was a factor in the accident the next day. On the day of the accident, Rose worked for a few hours and testified that no supervisors remarked that he was or appeared to be impaired. While he acknowledged that putting his hand inside the machine was unsafe, he testified that he was “thinking clearly” and was not impaired. A manager employed by the employer testified that he had no knowledge of Rose being intoxicated. There was no evidence to refute Rose’s statements about the circumstances of the accident. The court rejected the inference that the mere presence of marijuana in Rose's blood stream inevitably means he was intoxicated: "the presence of an intoxicating substance in the blood does not automatically mean that person is intoxicated.”