Should employers include marijuana in pre-employment drug testing?

13.5 Million Adults abuse Marijuana. There are 22 million illicit drug users in the United States and almost 70 Percent of these users are in some way employed. There seems to be more support towards the full legalization of marijuana with 52 percent of the population fully supporting legalization. By the end of 2016 the state of Massachusetts seems very likely to pass this bill along with a few other states across the U.S.

Now the question is should employers still include marijuana when drug testing future employees? The answer is simple. Every employer should drug test for marijuana! Under federal law marijuana is still a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. Marijuana is second to alcohol costing hundreds of billion dollars a year due to abuse. With more people smoking Marijuana this creates a huge impact in the workplace. Marijuana abuse is connected to inconsistent work quality, poor concentration, lowered productivity, increased absenteeism, needless risk taking, and the list goes on and on.

Even with marijuana being legal on the state level it is still illegal under Federal law which is above all state laws. Employers who are federal contractors, grantees and licensees subject to the drug free workplace act of 1988 must have fitness for duty requirements or drug free workplace programs that include testing for all controlled substances under federal laws. OSHA imposes liability for failure to provide a safe work environment which prohibits employers to allow impairment in the workplace. DOT requires drug and alcohol testing of safety sensitive transportation employees in transportation industries.

Employers cannot afford the risk hiring someone who abuses a schedule 1 controlled substance. As an example a person making a mid-range salary (earning 30,000 to 50,000 a year) like a manager making 40k a year would cost the employer 8,000 dollars to replace. So why would you take the risk? Employers need to include marijuana in there drug testing policy.

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