Employers Struggle Finding Weed-Free Applicants In States With Legalized Marijuana

Positive drug tests for marijuana are on the rise.

Legalized Marijuana
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Just because cannabis is legalized in 28 states doesn’t always mean issues surrounding usage always resound so neatly. Various sectors of private and public life are affected in myriad ways as some previous practices continue to be held, even in states with legalized marijuana.


One way it has affected cannabis users is finding jobs. As a recent Washington Post article illustrated, businesses don’t abide as the same rules and procedures as government bodies, nor are they required to, as the Society for Human Resource Management states. In other words, failing a drug test still matters.

Grocery supplier McLane has had to turn down numerous applicants after failed drug tests in Denver. The state of Colorado is well-known for embracing marijuana in multitude ways. But at McLane, where potential works could be working in warehouse and operating heavy machinery, that’s not necessarily the case.


“Some weeks this year, 90 percent of applicants would test positive for something,” ruling them out for the job,” human resource manager Laura Stephens told the Post.

As Stephens alluded to, rising rates aren’t just for marijuana. Multiple drugs are being detected in workplace testing at a frequency higher than previously.


Via Washington Post:

Job applicants are testing positive for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine and heroin at the highest rate in 12 years, according to a new report from Quest Diagnostics, a clinical lab that follows national employment trends. […]

The most significant increase was in positive tests for marijuana, said Barry Sample, the scientist who wrote the report. Positive tests for the drug reached 2 percent last year, compared with 1.6 percent in 2012.

Marijuana’s rise in detection isn’t all that surprising considering the progress in legalization it’s undergone in the past four years. But what that means in the workplace varies from state to state.

In Colorado more companies are dropping marijuana from pre-employment drug testing. Meanwhile in California, which passed recreational legalization last year, testing positive for smoking weed can still get you fired from your job.

Though cannabis has taken dramatic steps in public awareness and acceptance recently, it still has a ways to go. If you’re in a state that does have legalized marijuana, make sure you know your employers’ regulations. Otherwise, you might be out of a job.