How Cannabis Legalization Has Taken Employer Drug Testing for a Loop

I’ve touched on how drug testing has become a touchy subject in some of the musings I’ve posted over the last few months as we’ve seen more states join the movement and legalize recreational marijuana.  This process of screening potential hires has been around for many decades, and it’s helped take a closer look at the habits of people as well as mitigate risk when it comes to investing time and money into someone who will in turn be responsible for helping the bottom line.  While there are many sectors of the work force that simply need to test people for drugs, (think about moving parts like automotive, construction and machinery jobs, manufacturing, and other areas where safety is a focus) there are other areas of the work force that people will argue does not matter if the staff is enjoying cannabis.

With the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana use becoming a trend, the screening process is certainly ripe for change.  In a report released last Summer, Quest Diagnostics reported that the amount of American workers and applicants for jobs that tested positive for drugs came to a 14 year high.  (No pun-intended, since marijuana led the way with positive screens.)

How Do Employers Deal With The Legalization?

This created an area of uncertainty for employers.  When job candidates are screened, the policies used to test for drugs need to be changed.  The website had many key points that I felt were important and worth sharing with you, so I’ll do that below.

For certain employer drug testing policies, read the pages below:

The first thing they suggest to be considered is that in areas where unemployment is low, getting new talent that is worth anything is proving to be difficult.  They note that it’s even more difficult in the “legal market.”  Obviously, failed marijuana drug tests make the talent pool people can hire from much smaller, which creates a very large problem for states that have legislation allowing cannabis to be abundant medicinally, and even more so on the recreational level.  Even in states without legal marijuana, a national company won’t be seeing much success getting candidates from the states that do have legal marijuana, they continue.

Next, they hone in on reliability.  With urinalysis being the go-to method for screening, since it’s inexpensive, quick, and non-invasive, and lastly it can show use of illicit and prescription drugs, the downfall in this type of testing is that the urine test will only show recent marijuana use.  (A synthetic urine kit will also beat this easily.)

THC only stays in the system for a few weeks, meaning that a result showing marijuana use won’t always tell us if it’s current use or how frequent it happened.  A casual marijuana user that tokes up once in a while is someone who probably won’t have any side effects affect their job, is the argument the article makes.

Based on this, I do feel some modifications will be happening in the world of pre-employment and post-employment drug testing, at least for the use of marijuana.  

What are your thoughts on people being allowed to use marijuana and hold various jobs?  Where do you draw the line?




Author: Shane Dwyer
Shane Dwyer is a cannabis advocate who isn't afraid to tell the world about it! You can find his views, rants, and tips published regularly at The 420 Times.

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