NIXA, Mo. — Nixa City Council voted to change part of its employee policy to include a ban on consuming recreational marijuana.

“I know a lot of large corporations still have zero-tolerance policies and I view government entities as larger corporations in a sense,” Councilman Shawn Lucas said during the Monday night city council meeting.

That zero-tolerance policy means city employees can not use marijuana even off the clock.

“The decision on this was up to the city council,” Nixa’s Public Information Officer Drew Douglas said. “It’s up to those elected officials.”

The only exception is for those utilizing medical marijuana.

Douglas told KOLR10 that the city council had two options for this changed policy. Councilmembers could make the change apply to only CDL drivers and those working “safety-sensitive jobs” or apply it to every employee. 

A safety-sensitive job is defined as someone who, if under the influence, could pose a danger to other workers.

The city administrator told the council there are at least 100 workers who fit those criteria.

The council voted unanimously to go with the second option.

Amanda Hunsucker, the director of human resources for the city was asked by the council how this change could affect staffing in the future.

“I do think the longer we go as no-tolerance, there can be an issue later on down the road,” Hunsucker said. “The more this is out there and the more people have access to it and things like that, I think it’s going to be something that we will have to change no matter what we do.” 

“I think that we can always loosen the knot, but we can’t ever take it back up,” Lucas said before voting.

Douglas says one of the factors in the discussion was a lack of technology to be able to test people for marijuana use in real time.

“There’s a certainty with the breathalyzer technology that does not currently exist,” Douglas said. “There is not an equivalent test that provides that same level of certainty for marijuana as there is for alcohol.”

Douglas said the city council also amended part of the employee handbook to include rules on where people could smoke cigarettes and vape.

Nixa city council also discussed potential pathways that would eventually lead to a ban on the sale of recreational marijuana within city limits, an option the council says is part of Amendment 3 that was passed in November 2022.

Members agreed to hold off on a vote and get community impact before those talks become serious.