How legal cannabis affects drug testing for employers

It’s a norm: if you apply for a job, the employer often conducts a background check to bring the right candidate on board. And one of the tools employers typically use is conducting drug and alcohol tests on potential employees. Employees may still be subjected to screening even when on board, thanks to the random drug testing policy.

But the big question is, with the widespread legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes, does it affect employer drug screening? This short blog takes a deeper dive into this controversial topic and provides insight into how employers can best handle the situation.

Can Employers Continue Drug Testing for Marijuana in the Workplace?

The short answer is yes. While some workplaces do not require drug testing as per the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, employers still preserve the right to test against various drugs, including marijuana, at their discretion. So, even if your job position doesn’t require drug tests for safety, your employer may still summon you for the screening, as it is within their rights and decision. 

But what happens if you fail the drug test? We hear you ask. The employer may decide to let you go or not offer you the position. So it’s safe to say that, despite the widespread marijuana legalization, under the medical marijuana program, it doesn’t affect the employer’s random drug testing policy. Don’t get it wrong, though; you may still be able to enjoy your legal marijuana at home, but you can’t report to work high due to the effects of cannabis on judgment impairment. 

Workplace Safety is Still a Priority

So why would an employer conduct a drug screen on a prospective employee? The most common reason is to protect workplace safety. If a person fails a drug test, they may pose a threat to their coworkers and themselves. If there are any signs of impairment during the workday, the employer has every right to take action.

Employers still maintain the right to exercise their random drug testing policy, including marijuana. This is especially not debatable for safety-sensitive jobs like transportation, construction, and sports. For instance, the Department of Transport reaffirms that employees or potential employees are still subject to federal DOT drug testing, which overrides the pre-employment drug testing laws by state.

The bottom line is, workplace safety is paramount, and everything, including random drug testing, must be conducted to preserve the same. After all, the influence of marijuana may affect a user’s motor skills, sensory skills, and reaction time, posing a safety threat to their occupations. 


To reiterate what we already stated earlier, the employer retains the right to conduct random marijuana drug screens, regardless of whether the law has legalized marijuana use. The current legal status of marijuana for medical purposes in most states is irrelevant to the employer’s random drug testing policy.

However, as much as the employer has an obligation to maintain a drug-free working environment, they shouldn’t fire someone solely based on the results of a drug test. Instead, they should consider other factors, such as performance reviews, attendance records, and disciplinary actions. Don’t you agree?

Drug Testing in Woburn

Marijuana is now legal in Woburn, Massachusetts, as per the state marijuana laws, but the medical and recreational marijuana legalization hasn’t changed anything regarding the random drug testing laws. Employers still have the right to perform drug screens at their discretion. Even if you’re employed in a workplace where marijuana is legal, your employer may still conduct a drug test.

At ARCpoint Labs, we understand that you have to protect your company from the devastating effects of employee drug abuse. So we’re committed to helping you keep the workplace drug-free and safe for everyone. For over 18 years, we’ve been helping companies like yours achieve this goal by offering accurate, reliable, and confidential drug testing services. Our comprehensive services are built around a passion for reducing drug abuse, controlling the prevalence of marijuana use, and empowering individuals and companies to manage their health and wellness through affordable lab screening. So don’t get left behind. Contact us today, and let us help you implement a drug testing policy to help preserve your workplace safety, dignity, and employee professionalism.

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