How Employers Are Handling Cannabis Use By Employees Post-Legalization
One of the many notable changes to everyday life after legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana is the impact it has had on the business world, specifically to “human capital.” Despite legal changes allowing for the lawful use of the substance across many states in the country, some companies still consider cannabis to be an illicit drug and can deny or terminate employment if an individual is found to have used it recently. This can make it extremely difficult if not nearly impossible for folks that are using marijuana on a regular basis to find and maintain employment, regardless of the reason why they are partaking.
These companies still use drug tests as a way to determine if an employee has used or is currently using cannabis or other drugs. Even when cannabis use is strictly kept to “off hours,” employees that test positive for it can still be reprimanded and even fired for it depending on the company’s policy. This brings up many questions about how companies will handle medical and recreational marijuana use if and when it is made legal nationally. Many people are currently viewing drug tests that include marijuana use as part of the panel to be unfair and this is especially true in areas where marijuana has been legalized for medical use.
Considering that some of the legally available medications that are deemed “acceptable” by employers can often times have significantly worse side effects that can affect productivity, the fact that weed use is being singled out makes little sense. Also, given the fact that alcohol is a much more dangerous and impairing drug but is not tested for makes the hypocrisy of the situation all the more evident. Hopefully, businesses will begin to see the light and begin treating cannabis use by employees in the same way that they view alcohol use: perfectly fine while not at work or in a way that it affects your productivity.
Fortunately, there is some good news to share on this front! Signs seem to be pointing to the number of employers that are testing for marijuana dropping in areas where it has been legalized for either recreational or medical use. These changes in policy are being attributed to several factors including more mainstream awareness of marijuana along with the different reasons for its use and a particularly strong economy where many employers that are in need of workers are removing certain restrictions in order to attract more employees. As always, the potential for increased revenue growth can be a very motivational force when it comes to changing the minds of the often “slow to move” business landscape in the U.S.
Even though we must take into account that private companies do make up their own employment policies as they see fit, if these positive changes can be taken as a portent of things to come, we are very hopeful that with additional education and awareness companies across the board will cease testing for cannabis use altogether in the near future.
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