Employers Are Reconsidering their Pre-Employment Drug Screening
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Employers are reconsidering their pre-employment drug testing policies now that marijuana is legal in Colorado. The State Employer Council conducted a survey and found that only about 60 percent of businesses asked were requiring drug tests, which is down from 77 companies three years ago.
Some companies are keeping the drug tests but are eliminating marijuana from the testing. Five percent of companies in Colorado Springs have done so already.
Others say that the low unemployment rate factors into the equation.
In Pennsylvania last month, the Philadelphia City Council voted for a hearing on drug testing to discuss concerns for medical marijuana patients who may be fired for testing positive. As the law stands now, patients are protected from prosecution but not from termination.
Employees in California are failing work-place mandatory drug tests at increased rates. California fails employer given drug-tests at one and a half times the national rate. With recreational marijuana becoming legal in 2018, many companies are evaluating their employment drug policies. Eighty percent of voters in California support recreational marijuana, but employers can still deny employment to cannabis users if they choose to do so.
Oregon has proposed a bill that would protect state employees from termination for recreational marijuana use. The Senate Bill 301 was compiled by the bipartisan Joint Interim Marijuana Legalization Committee, and would only let employers prohibit recreational marijuana use 0ff-duty if it interfered with their job duties.
A town in Massachusetts has a new drug policy also. Police officers in Brockton, Mass. will be urine tested if they are suspected of using drugs, but marijuana will not be included in the drug testing. The new policy excluded marijuana because medical marijuana is legal now and recreational marijuana will be legal in mid-2018. Firefighters also have a drug policy that doesn’t test for pot.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She writes about activism, social justice, news, politics, comedy, education and marketing.