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Changing Tides: How Cannabis Legalization is Shaping Employee Drug-Testing Policies

MRBChanging Tides: How Cannabis Legalization is Shaping Employee Drug-Testing Policies

With the increasing prevalence of cannabis legalization in the United States, a shifting landscape is emerging in the realm of employee hiring and retention. Many individuals in today’s competitive job market are incorporating cannabis, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes. Consequently, employers are revisiting their drug-testing policies, with some opting to discontinue screenings for marijuana, particularly for THC.

One such example is Park Village Pines, an assisted-living facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Despite the legalization of adult-use cannabis in the state, facility operators found that drug testing for cannabis was causing them to miss out on qualified candidates, particularly among the younger workforce. To address this issue, the facility ceased testing job applicants for THC, as they deemed testing for a legalized substance counterproductive.

In a tight labor market where employers are fiercely competing for skilled candidates, more people are using marijuana in various forms. As a result, some employers are adopting an approach that considers cannabis use outside of work hours as long as it doesn’t affect job performance.

Interestingly, even as fewer employers are conducting cannabis screenings, those who continue to do so are observing an increase in positive test results. Quest Diagnostics, a medical lab company, reported a record-high positivity rate for cannabis in its annual drug testing analysis. This increase in positive tests coincides with changing societal attitudes towards marijuana and the continued spread of cannabis legalization across the country.

Moreover, the positivity rate for cannabis screenings is even higher in states that have legalized marijuana, both for recreational and medicinal use. As a result, employers are increasingly revising their policies to comply with state laws. Many states have implemented measures to protect the employment rights of cannabis users, further necessitating policy adjustments by employers.

In summary, the evolving landscape of cannabis legalization is leading employers to reconsider their drug-testing policies, with some opting to forgo cannabis screenings to remain competitive in the tight labor market and align with changing societal attitudes. State laws and measures protecting the employment rights of cannabis users are also influencing these policy shifts.

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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