The federal government’s powers have shrunk significantly in relation to maintaining the plant’s prohibition status.
I was reading an article posted on the American Bar Association’s website concerning whether marijuana-testing at the workplace will eventually fade out over time.
After all, the vast majority of Americans are in favor of cannabis legalization, and a large chunk of the population live in cannabis-friendly states. This means that there are more people who have a legal right to consume cannabis within their state, but could potentially run into trouble with their place of employment.
To understand this, we need to dive into the nature of cannabis-testing and why it became the standard. We also will be addressing what these new canna-friendly norms currently means for multi-state businesses — especially when it comes to company policy.
What’s the reasoning behind workplace testing?
Before we can jump into the future of workplace testing, we need to first take a look at when it originally started. According to the ABA, the US corporate culture got its ‘hard-on’ for workplace drug testing during the Raegan administration.
You know the movie-star turned president who helped birth D.A.R.E and escalate the war on drugs. Raegan mandated that federal employees undergo drug testing in order to be employed by the government. Shortly after, the private sector did the same.
The reason to justify this shift in policy was, “pre-work drug testing increases workplace safety and productivity”.
Of course, in the 1980s you could say stuff like that, pay a few scientists to rig up some circumstantial “evidence” to support their premise and, presto-change-o, you’ve got yourself a national policy embedded into the very fabric of capitalism.
The new drug testing companies that arose to satisfy the demand for testing, drug kits, and everything associated with the practice were ecstatic. They had a new seemingly endless revenue stream backed up by government incentives.
By this time, there was money to be made and both Uncle Sam and Corporate Carl were groping American freedom while claiming that it was all for their benefit!
Fortunately, those kinds of things never happen in 2021…don’t they?
Oops – drugs won!
The 1980s and the 1990s were the “good years” if you ask a Drug Warrior. “Drug warriors” — as they liked to call themselves — were people who actively profited from the War on Drugs, whether you’re talking about local law enforcement, to every federal agency politicians could invent.
That’s when they could be “tough on crime” by busting non-violent drug users, while not solving crime where it mattered most. You know, like human trafficking, murders, and rapes.
As long as they had a few red-eyed Rasta’s sitting behind bars, they were going to get money from Uncle Sam, and eventually the military’s old toys.
However, during the 1980s the Aids Pandemic was in full swing and it turned out that a little plant known as cannabis really helped sufferers with a condition called Aids Wasting Syndrome. It also allegedly helped with pain management, cancer, glaucoma, etc.
Suddenly, being tough on crime meant attacking medical patients with a tank and well, the optics would certainly ruin any argument in favor of sustaining such a policy. But by this time it was too late; people were finding medical relief in cannabis, and eventually a few states began legalizing it for medical purposes.
Fast forward a few decades and more than half of U.S. adults have tried marijuana. It’s still illegal on a federal level, but the federal government’s powers have shrunk significantly in relation to maintaining the plant’s prohibition status.
Once the federal government removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA)
This is when things will get interesting. Even now, under modern cannabis laws, companies are having a hard time knowing how to respond. The government might have competently implemented these laws and instilled it into corporate culture, but their incompetence at rectifying their mistakes have left chaos for the time being.
However, eventually the federal government will have to give into the will of the people. This means legalization is inevitable.
At this point, testing people for cannabis would be problematic and the odds of companies maintaining employment will be staggeringly low.
This is because cannabis can stay in your system for up to 90 days (mostly about 30-days or a few weeks if you smoke rarely). This means that someone could have smoked a joint last week at a birthday party and then can get fired a week later for “having cannabis in their system”.
If the premise of making the workplace safer never testing for impairment, but only for the presence of an actual drug…well I hate to say that America got swindled by her politicians.
And this leads us to where we are today, in a limbo leaving companies scratching their heads.
A few things a company can do to cope with the times
According to the ABA, there are a couple of things companies can do now from a legal perspective. Firstly, adapt different codes based on regions. If you’re in a state with stricter laws, you can create “state specific” clauses.
The other alternative is to simply not continue with such an archaic practice. Perhaps, we should judge people not by the contents of their urine sample, but by their productivity and character instead.
As we get to the end of this joint, we wrap it up with a quick reminder that one of these days you’re going to be able to buy weed in a Seven Eleven. Sure, it won’t be the best bud, but it will get the job done.
Cannabis has already entered into the mainstream zeitgeist. Hell, if Iron Mike Tyson is smoking the Cheeba and running a cannabis farm, you know that the people have smoken!
Let’s get rid of this intrusive and humiliating practice of screening people for drugs. Besides, drugs don’t tell you who a person is. If you want that, just check their browser history!