We are pushing the frontiers, and we are winning. Cannabis is (almost) legal in more than a dozen states nationwide. The drive to get cannabis into the mainstream society is gaining momentum. But, there are still major exceptions… The workplace.
Most companies have always used pre-employment screening to test their would be employees for certain substances including weed, cocaine and other hard drugs. Even companies in the states where cannabis has been legalized are not exempted!
With the widespread acceptance of marijuana — twenty-nine states have legalized medical marijuana, and eight states legalizing recreational weed, the question that needs to be asked is, why should qualified people be denied employment on the grounds that they use cannabis?
The unfortunate thing about this test is, it only signifies that the drug was used in the past, which puts the cannabis user at a disadvantage when compared with other substance users.
According to Dr. Alan Shackelford, a Harvard Medical school trained physician, the marijuana residuals detected in the body are evidence of past use, not actual impairment. This is so because cannabinoids occur naturally in the body and hence the body tend to hold onto them as long as it can. Unlike alcohol which it hastens to get rid of as fast as it can due to its toxicity.
Another reason why these pre-employment tests are carried out could be because it is an old tradition. You know, like keeping with the status quo. The fact is that companies could be missing out on quality staff due to this arcane practice.
The Changing Trends
Companies in the states where recreational weed has been legalized are gradually coming to terms with the fact that staff could come to work high, hence they’ve decided to remove cannabis from pre-employment drug screen.Statistics from a survey carried out by the Mountain States Employers Council last December showed that pot testing by Colorado companies has declined over the past two years. About 10 percent of businesses in Denver and Boulder took off weed from their tests while 9 percent of companies in Pueblo did the same.
There have been great strides this past two years with getting cannabis test removed from pre-job screening. However, a lot still needs to be done.
Key Take Away
Having become legalized in some states, it is imperative that job discrimination against cannabis users stop in those states. Though cannabis is still banned under federal law, this gives companies cover to still conduct pre-job screening in their recruitment process.
We will love to hear your thoughts on this.