Legal Marijuana and Employment Drug Screening
Marijuana use has increased drastically in the United States in recent years, and some of this rise is a result of the advent of medical marijuana, plus the legalization of the drug for recreational use in both Colorado and the state of Washington.
The rate of marijuana use in the United States is on the rise, a recent study found that nearly 19 million Americans are users of the drug. It comes as no surprise that the number of employment related drug screens returning a positive result for marijuana has increased by six percent in the past five years. Of the nearly three and a half million drug tests performed in the first half of 2012, 87,500 tested positive for pot.
The burning new question on everyone’s mind is, “How does marijuana’s new quasi-legal status effect employment drug testing and an employer’s desire to maintain a drug free workplace?” For now, the answer is, not much has changed.
Courts in California, Oregon and Washington, all states that have liberalized the use of marijuana, have ruled across the board that pot, even as prescribed by a doctor, is still an illegal substance on the federal level; reinforcing an employer’s right to deny or terminate employment as a result of a positive drug screen for marijuana. Furthermore, DOT drug testing regulations, which govern safety-senstivie employees in virtually all transportation industries (trucks, trains, boats, pipelines, planes, and transit), are national regs – not subject to state liberalization movements. In essence, a truck driver in Colorado is subject to the same ban on use of marijuana as truck drivers in every other state.
While the shifting sentiment towards marijuana may require businesses to modify their policies regarding the drug, for the present employers can feel comfortable using their current drug screening procedures with the knowledge that their plans to keep the work place safe, productive and drug free, and they can remain within the law.
Contact Health Street for more information on employment drug screening and other services to help safeguard your business and employees.