Unfortunately, marijuana use can still disqualify you from getting hired, even in states with fully legal weed.
The embrace of marijuana reform and using CBD in wellness spaces could cause someone to think the stigma surrounding cannabis has disappeared. While that may be true from a cultural perspective—more than two out of every three Americans support cannabis legalization—you may want to reconsider if you’re looking for a job.
According to data from Simply Hired, more than 40% of hiring managers at mid-size companies and more than 51% at large companies say they still test for marijuana in the job application process. The anonymous survey, which included hiring managers at more than 700 companies, gives valuable insight into how companies truly view employees using cannabis. The majority of hiring managers said a job applicant would be immediately disqualify after testing positive for marijuana.
Legality of marijuana in the state also has little impact in determining cannabis policies at companies. Even in fully legal states, the majority of business maintain a marijuana policy for employees. According to the survey, this appears as an act of companies covering their own tail. While 75.4% of hiring managers say an employee would be fired for smoking weed at work, 68.4% also felt employee marijuana use was fine so long as companies didn’t know about it. Think of it as a don’t ask, don’t smoke on company property policy of sorts.
Working at a smaller company appears to allow more of an open mind to cannabis. Among businesses with less than 100 employees, 43.5% of hiring managers say they never test for marijuana use. Smaller companies are also less likely to automatically disqualify a job applicant after a positive marijuana test, the survey found.
Job seekers in California don’t have it any easier, at least when it comes to state government positions. In 2015, a year prior to legalization, 503 applicants for state correctional officer jobs were disqualified due to positive marijuana tests. In 2018, that figure doubled to 1,053 disqualified candidates, according to The Los Angeles Times.
“I do not think [a ban on cannabis use] is fair, or necessary to have a safe workplace,” Ellen Komp of California NORML told the Times. “Our position is that people can legally and responsibly use marijuana off the job, as long as they don’t show up to work impaired or use it on the job.”
But hiring managers can’t agree if marijuana users will or won’t show up to their jobs high. According to Simply Hired’s survey, 42% of hiring managers agree marijuana users are more likely to come to work under the influence. The majority of managers, however, disagreed that cannabis users can’t be trusted to do their jobs.