Why Do Companies Drug Test for Marijuana If It’s Legal?

Of the 31 states that allow medical marijuana use, 11 have statutes that explicitly ban employment discrimination against the users of medical marijuana. These are Arizona, Delaware, New York, Nevada, Minnesota, Arkansas, Rhode Island, Illinois, Connecticut, Maine, and Pennsylvania. As of now, 10 states have legalized the recreational use of Marijuana.

This means that at least one of five adults in the U.S. can drink, eat, vape or smoke marijuana as they please. As a result, there has been a sluggish decline in pre-employment drug tests, which had for years remained an employment prerequisite.

Marijuana Tests

A number of companies have changed their policies for marijuana drug tests over the recent years, even though not all want to advertise the change.

Here is an example of a company that has chosen to go against the odds, as reported by the morning call.

Excellence Health Inc, a healthcare company with over 6000 employees, is a lead example of an employer who no longer conducts marijuana tests. This started at the beginning of 2018, and the company even introduced a hotline for any of their employees who would be struggling with addiction.

Responding to why they don’t run marijuana tests, Liam Meyer, the company’s spokesman, said that they don’t care about what their employees do when free. What the company values is to have all employees helped through drug use as opposed to being shunned for the same reason.

Unfortunately, A Number of Companies Still Conduct Marijuana Drug Tests.

What’s disheartening is, some companies still run marijuana drug tests in states where the herb is legalized, and employees who test positive are discriminated. In some unfortunate circumstances, employees who have never used marijuana have false positive results and it becomes very difficult to prove their innocence.

Even when subsequent results come back negative, there is already a suspicion which may be detrimental for potential employees seeking employment.

Here are some reasons these companies cite in regards to conducting marijuana tests:

To Be Eligible for Worker’s Compensation Discounts

Most states give employers discounts on their employee’s compensation premiums. Companies are given this on condition that they take up steps to ensure their workplace is drug-free, and this may entail testing job candidates.

Avoiding Legal Liability

Should an intoxicated worker harm anyone at the workplace, the employer may be held liable for resulting injuries. Alcohol and drug use can also violate State Occupational Safety and OSHA laws.

To Save Money and Sustain Productivity

Based on data by the federal government, Problems that relate to the abuse of alcohol and drugs cost as much as $80 billion annually in lost productivity. Drugged employees are more likely to get to work late, over three-and-a-half times likely to cause an accident in the workplace, and five times more prone to make a worker’s compensation claim.

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Way Forward

While an effective drug policy may promote an accident-free workplace and increase productivity, drug test laws overlap each other, affecting people who shouldn’t be subject to their harsh consequences.

Weed-averse employers should take time to review their current policies and the extent to which they affect company operations. For example, the money saved by meeting a drug-free zone requirement is not worth in an office job setting with a few workers. Losing a talented potential or existing employee over a positive marijuana test result also beats sense.

Rick Ritzman
 

I gained an interest in the medical aspects of Cannabis at a young age. This led me to pursue undergraduate studies in neuroscience, agriculture and a Ph.D. in pharmacology. I have performed research in several therapeutic areas, including cancer, immunology, and pain.

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