Workplace Drug Testing Evolving In The Age Of Legalized Marijuana

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For the first time in a decade, employees are testing positive for marijuana at a higher rate nationwide, especially in Colorado. According to Jenny Dudikoff, a spokesperson for Quest Diagnostics, positive testing for marijuana for regularly tested employees in Colorado increased by 20 percent. The growth was even greater in Washington, the only other state to have legalized recreational use. Employees there showed a 23 percent increase. Quest is a workplace drug testing service. They analyze employees for a wide range of substances using several methods, including urine, spit and hair. But the increased marijuana results were not limited to so-called green states. Nationwide, Quest found a 6.2 increase in marijuana use.

"Washington and Colorado are believed by many to foreshadow future trends in recreational marijuana use," said Barry Sample, Quest's director of science and technology. "While Quest's drug testing index shows dramatic spikes in marijuana positivity rates over the past year, a longer view of the data suggests a more complex picture." Sample admits legalization of recreational marijuana might not be the reason for the spike in usage.

"Ironically, especially in the tech industry, a lot of employers are already scrapping those old drug policies. These employers are finding they are having trouble recruiting the best talent available if they keep those old drug testing policies regarding marijuana in place." Said Bill Kirchoff municipal advisor.

"It is possible that relaxed societal views of marijuana use in those two states, relative to others, may in part be responsible for the recent increase in positivity rates," he said. "Yet, this doesn't explain why both states also experienced steep rises and declines in positivity in recent years. We will be very interested to see how our data evolves over the next year or two in these two states relative to those that have not legalized so-called recreational marijuana."

Even residing in a state where recreational marijuana is legal does not insure protection. "Employers generally have the authority to restrict recreational use of marijuana by employees and impose sanctions, including termination, on employees with positive drug tests in all 50 states," Sample added. This is an issue public and private employers in Colorado and Washington are currently sorting through. "Is it proper for employers to say their employees can't use it?" asked Bill Kirchoff, a municipal advisor from Coronado, California. "My concern is how we deal with employees in the workplace where marijuana is no longer a criminal issue."

Kirchoff was one of several panelists on hand Tuesday morning when the International City/County Management Association held a forum titled "What Marijuana Legalization Means for Colorado's Local Communities and Local Governments." Most of the panelists felt that in those states where recreational marijuana use is now legal, the best thing to do is adapt to the cultural shift.

"It has been a major cultural change in our workplace," said Daren Atteberry, Fort Collins city manager. "For example, our police department is used to treating it as a crime. Now they have to take to a more regulatory approach ... I might have a clerk who has strong feelings against marijuana use but now has to deal directly with marijuana businesses at work. It's just about each employer trying to find best practices in dealing with these issues ... It feels like a very simple matter, but it's not."

"It's a huge cultural change," Kirchoff added. "Many employers have drug policies in place that date back to the 1980s and have a zero-tolerance policy. This is a new realm in labor policy." He's found some companies changed their policies in order to find top employees. "Ironically, especially in the tech industry, a lot of employers are already scrapping those old drug policies," Kirchoff added. "These employers are finding they are having trouble recruiting the best talent available if they keep those old drug testing policies regarding marijuana in place." But even though some drug-testing policies are being updated to exclude marijuana, common sense remains in place.

"Even though we don't test for marijuana if you show up high at the workplace that is still grounds for termination," said Jane Brautigam, Boulder city manager. "It's the same as if you come to work intoxicated on alcohol. Substance abuse is still not tolerated in the workplace."

Interestingly, despite marijuana legalization in some states, another substance boasted the biggest increase among the 8.5 million Americans tested by Quest in the past year. Amphetamines, a class of central nervous system stimulants that includes drugs ranging from methamphetamines to prescription medication for ADHD, showed a 10 percent increase nationwide (compared to 6.2 for marijuana) from 2012 to 2013. It represented the highest percentage of amphetamine use on record and the highest methamphetamine testing rates since 2007.



News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Summitdaily.com
Author: Brandon Evans
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Website: Workplace drug testing evolving in the age of legalized marijuana | SummitDaily.com
 

c526

Member of the Month: Jan 2015 - Plant of the Month: Jan 2015
Torn on this one General

I was an employer.At the height of my company,I had 38 employees.If they wanted the paycheck,they had to go by my rules.
Everyone gets asked,if they lie to me and I FIND OUT,after the results.I wont hire them,they are not honest.The people who came to me and told me they smoked,they got the jobs,and i didnt waste the $250 on a piss test
Between the hours of 7-4 they were there to build my wallet,after that i could care less what is done on there own time.

I had way more trouble with drinkers than with smokers,freakin drinkers man,shitty in the morning,grouchy at lunch and miserable at supper.
 
This goes to show how stupid Americans (well republicans are). So worried about the government controlling their lives DUH! Something's legal now but guess who really is telling you what you can do with your so-called freedom? O ya those freedom loving no regulation's (for them or rules) corporations. YOUR boss owns you stop crying and voting against government and supporting a boss who is on the beach getting high while he says you can't and then threatens your ability to feed yourself and your family over a plant. WOW governments the problem for sure.
 
This goes to show how stupid Americans (well republicans are). So worried about the government controlling their lives DUH! Something's legal now but guess who really is telling you what you can do with your so-called freedom? O ya those freedom loving no regulation's (for them or rules) corporations. YOUR boss owns you stop crying and voting against government and supporting a boss who is on the beach getting high while he says you can't and then threatens your ability to feed yourself and your family over a plant. WOW governments the problem for sure.
It's not just Republicans. There are also some Democrats against it. It's a fallacy to think that prohibition is limited to just one party and is detrimental to our cause. My advice to everyone is to pay attention to your representatives, find out where they stand and vote accordingly. In my state it is actually a Republican that is making a push for reform.

Do your due diligence and then, most importantly, get out there and vote! We have made more progress in the past couple of years then we have mad in several decades. We are finally starting to get this turned around but people need to do their homework and make their vote count. There is a lot of support from both of the major parties.

Sorry for the rant but I've been a marijuana reform activist since high school. I'm ecstatic about the progress we've made but there is still a lot of work to be done. I get worked up about it sometimes. Oh and just in case I forgot to mention it. Exercise your right to vote and make it count!
 
another excellent example of the idiocy behind prohibition and its supporting policies;
...some companies changed their policies in order to find top employees. “Ironically, especially in the tech industry, a lot of employers are already scrapping those old drug policies,” Kirchoff added. “These employers are finding they are having trouble recruiting the best talent available if they keep those old drug testing policies regarding marijuana in place.”
... cannabis users are proving to be among the most talented and sought after employees.
 
True story there are some dim dems out there still supporting prohibition but its mostly the moral majority crowd. In a sense I agree with you look at the record first and don't be a 1 issue voter. Jut because they support MJ doesn't mean they are just doing more than shilling for votes. Ya I am happy for sure about the IT world dropping out of drug testing its nice being a Cisco network engineer! Although I still think employers control our lives (at least in the USA) far more than the government. Of course you pay for the freedom you can afford in this country.
 
I noticed when a company wants to hire you, (where I live) you will know a day earlier helping you pass the test. I noticed the test is not as strong, meaning you will pass unless you just used recently. :peace:
 
True story there are some dim dems out there still supporting prohibition but its mostly the moral majority crowd. In a sense I agree with you look at the record first and don't be a 1 issue voter. Jut because they support MJ doesn't mean they are just doing more than shilling for votes. Ya I am happy for sure about the IT world dropping out of drug testing its nice being a Cisco network engineer! Although I still think employers control our lives (at least in the USA) far more than the government. Of course you pay for the freedom you can afford in this country.
It's a great time to be an IT guy that's for sure. SysAdmin here and just started a new job. I was surprised when there was no drug test requirement but if they ain't asking for one then I'm not either. I could have easily passed but I have a long standing policy against volunteering myself for illegal searches and seizures. Found out later that they reserve the right to request an employee to submit to one. I'm guessing that's the stance a lot of companies are going to start taking.

It's a sad fact, employers do indeed control our lives.
 
I noticed when a company wants to hire you, (where I live) you will know a day earlier helping you pass the test. I noticed the test is not as strong, meaning you will pass unless you just used recently. :peace:
A lot of it depends on the company. I've had some where I was given no advance notice.

True story, when I was younger (not that I'm old now mind you), I received a job offer where a friend of mine worked. They informed me after the interview that I had to take a physical. My buddy swore before I even applied that he didn't have to take a drug test when he hired on. Needless to say, I was sweating that physical big time. Physicals always include drug tests. Hell sometimes a drug test is all a "physical" really is. I really needed the job, the pay wasn't half bad for a young, single guy and he swore that it would just be a physical and NO drug test (Because he didn't have to take one). So I decided I was going to take the physical.

Well me being young and carefree spent the night at his house the night before my scheduled physical (that's right, one that wouldn't include a drug test). The next morning he woke me up on the couch by holding a lit doobie under my nose. I did what anybody my age would've done. I waked and baked and then went to take my damn physical (that wouldn't include a drug test). He had me so convinced that there wouldn't be a drug test that we burned another doobie on the way there. I got all the way through the physical and at the end the doctor said, "We just need a urine sample for a drug test and you're free to go." Man I wish I could've seen the look on my face. To say I was baked is an understatement. No doubt the doctor had seen plenty of stoners in her time and I'd bet anything that she could smell it on me in the exam room. I mean we just got done burning one in the car probably 15 or 20 minutes before.

So I go into the restroom and I freaked out. I kept asking myself, "What the hell do I do?" I looked at my eyes in the mirror and they were redder than a frickin' fire truck. I knew there was no way I'm passing this piss test but I really needed this job. I finally said screw it and filled the cup. I mean I wasn't going to tell this doctor I'm stoned and can't take your drug test anyway. I figured what the hell, the best case scenario I take the test and get a couple of days work, maybe even a full week, if I'm lucky, before the bad news comes back. Well some time goes by and I never heard anything. Eventually, I even forgot about it. About a month later I get a letter in the mail. I knew right away what that letter was. I opened it up thinking I'm not even going to bother with going in that night. Why waste everybody's time right? I was curious though, I wanted to know how bad I failed that test. To my surprise.. I frickin' passed that test! To this day, I don't know how I could've possibly passed it. I'm telling you, they could've dehydrated my piss and sold it in a baggie because I'm certain there would have been some buds left over after it dried out.

Anyway, all that to say, I definitely agree with you. I have anecdotal evidence that some tests aren't as thorough as others.