The Future of Pre-Employment Drug Screening?

With so many states decriminalizing marijuana, legalizing recreational use and with Congress lifting the federal prohibition on medical marijuana, we have to wonder: when will employers catch up?

More than half of all Americans report having tried marijuana, which means that at one point or another, half of the U.S. work force would have tested positive for marijuana at a pre-employment or random drug test, causing them to lose their jobs and costing their employers thousands of dollars in official testing and documentation, not to mention a legal team should an employee challenge the decision.

Since marijuana is still listed in the U.S. as a Schedule 1 drug along with methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and MDMA, it is unlikely employers will be able to discriminate appropriately by allowing marijuana in their workers’ systems but not other, more dangerous drugs like heroin.

Another problem with employment drug testing is the life of THC in a human’s system. Marijuana takes up to two weeks to disappear after first using it, which means an employee who shared a joint at a friend’s birthday over the weekend could lose his job all the way up until two following weekends should they be randomly tested.

Since the prohibition on marijuana has largely disappeared, when will the majority of employers’ prohibition on marijuana leave with it? Do you think this right, lumping marijuana into harder drugs and denying people employment over it?


Photo: Mark

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