Employers in 3 States Abandoning Pre-Employment Cannabis Testing

Anna Hunt, Staff
Waking Times

Medical cannabis use is now legal in 29 states, and recreational use is legal in 8 states and Washington DC. Despite this, little has been done to address the practice of pre-employment cannabis testing and how it impacts people’s right to cannabis. As a result, millions of responsible and law-abiding adults remain at risk of being excluded from the workforce due to a positive drug test.

Pre-employment Cannabis Testing Dwindles in 3 States

Now, three states that have legalized cannabis are favoring the exclusion of the substance from pre-employment drug testing.

  • 1. Colorado

    Colorado is the first state that legalized the recreational use of cannabis, back in 2012. It is also the first state where employers are noticeably ditching pre-employment cannabis testing.

    A study conducted by the Mountain State Employer Council interviewed 609 companies to understand the trends in drug testing policies. It revealed that the number of companies doing pre-employment drug testing decreased by 15 percent since 2014. Out of the companies still administering drug test screens, 5 percent have omitted cannabis from all tests.

    It appears, though, that legalization is not the main reason for this trend. The Council stated that Colorado’s low unemployment is the primary contributor to the decrease in pre-employment cannabis testing. The group expects that more companies start testing again when there’s a larger pool of potential job candidates.

    2. California

    The use of medical cannabis became legal in California over 20 years ago, and in 2016 the state legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. Now, a growing number of businesses are excluding cannabis in the drug test screen.

    Previously, California tried to prevent employers from disciplining and firing employees who use cannabis. In 2010, the state put the issue out to voters with Proposition 19. Unfortunately, 53.5 percent of voters rejected Prop 19. The new laws regarding recreational cannabis do not yet protect employees, even ones with medical marijuana cards.

    Regardless, it appears that only a small share of employers in California require pre-employment cannabis testing. A job placement agency in Santa Barbara, Select Staffing, declared that only 20 percent of its clients require a cannabis drug screen. The agency places this low percentage on its clients’ concerns about missing out on capable employees. Nancy Lavender, a director at Select Staffing, noted:

    “They can need it [marijuana] for medical purposes and still be a great employee,” said Lavender. “But they just might be in a position where they have to take it.” (Source)

    3. Oregon

    Oregon is the third state that may see dwindling pre-employment cannabis testing. The state legalized recreational cannabis use in 2014.

    In early 2017, a bipartisan committee, called the Joint Interim Marijuana Legalization Committee, introduced Bill 301 to the state Senate. If passed, the bill would prohibit any business from firing an employee on the basis of cannabis usage. In addition, the law would disallow employers from basing new employment decisions on cannabis test results.

    Currently, employers in Oregon can still fire an employee who uses cannabis.

    NORML, a consumer advocate group, has created a coalition that will lobby for the necessary legislative and workplace reforms to protect responsible cannabis users in all the states where cannabis use is currently legal.

    Read more articles by Anna Hunt.

    About the Author

    Anna Hunt is writer, yoga instructor, mother of three, and lover of healthy food. She’s the founder of Awareness Junkie, an online community paving the way for better health and personal transformation. She’s also the co-editor at Waking Times, where she writes about optimal health and wellness. Anna spent 6 years in Costa Rica as a teacher of Hatha and therapeutic yoga. She now teaches at Asheville Yoga Center and is pursuing her Yoga Therapy certification. During her free time, you’ll find her on the mat or in the kitchen, creating new kid-friendly superfood recipes.

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    This article (Employers in 3 States Abandoning Pre-employment Cannabis Testing) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Anna Hunt and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

    Sources sited within the article.

    Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

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