A growing number of companies are dropping Marijuana drug testing
As more states make the move to legalize marijuana, a growing number of businesses are eliminating or drastically changing their drug testing policies.
“The majority still have their drug-free workplace policies in place,” said Amber Clayton, senior director of Knowledge Center Operations at the Society of Human Resources Management.
Clayton said her organization has seen a boost in businesses asking how to navigate the challenges linked to new laws that legalize marijuana.
“We’ve been getting questions for years,” she said. “They want to understand what are the laws. What can and can’t they do? Can they have policies? Can they test?”
Clayton said the short answer is to always check state laws.
But some businesses have done away with marijuana testing altogether, especially for job applicants. About 15% of employers recently surveyed said they have eliminated preemployment drug testing entirely. The move widens the talent pool for businesses looking to hire, Clayton said.
“In the states where they’ve legalized marijuana, if they were to do preemployment drug testing, they could be excluding individuals who may be marijuana users,” she said.
Over the last decade, 23 states and D.C. have legalized the drug. Clayton said some of those states have completely outlawed marijuana testing, only doing drug checks based on the job description.
“For instance, someone who is a truck driver may be required to have negative drug tests under their state’s Department of Transportation regulations,” she said. “Whereas someone who might work in a warehouse for a private employer may not have to. It really does vary significantly.”
Clayton said most businesses still have drug-free workplace policies in place because they have other ways to spot marijuana use among employees. In some states, workers caught breaking drug-free protocols can still be fired.
“It’s training managers what to look for,” she said. “Those observable behaviors are red eyes, someone who might be missing time off from work or leaving early unexpectedly. And slurred speech and slow movements could also be signs of someone under the influence.”