Marijuana use has been legalized in half of the country – in 4 states with recreational and medical use, and in 21 states with only medical legalization. It seems that public opinion of the herb is headed towards one of acceptance, especially for its healing properties and its reputation as a safer recreational substance. However, this view has not been welcomed in the workplace, even in states that have been recreationally legalized like Colorado. Interestingly enough, some companies have made their drug-testing policies even stricter since legalization.
Companies fear of a workforce full of stoners. Employers fear that marijuana will affect work performance. There have been many cases where people who were treating certain conditions and injuries with medical marijuana, and were fired from their jobs after failing a random drug-test. Efforts to explain to their employers that they are patients with a prescription or a medical marijuana card were ignored, with the argument that it could not be determined whether employees are abusing the substance that they are prescribed. An employer may decide to drug test a worker who was injured on site and they would test positive for marijuana even if they didn’t smoke at or before work. This would then prevent the employer from having to pay for the work-related injury even if the worker wasn’t high when the injury happened.
Is Marijuana discrimination legal?
Some states such as Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine and Rhode Island have ruled it to be illegal to discriminate medical marijuana users in the workplace. On the other hand, some states such as Florida have made it totally legal to discriminate. Because marijuana is not legal on the federal level, its position remains in a legal grey area even in legalized states, giving employers the ability to discriminate against users.
The Problem of Drug-tests
It has been estimated that a whopping 90 percent of Fortune 1000 companies and 62 percent of employers throughout the country administer mandatory drug-tests. These numbers are striking due to the fact that drug-tests are not always accurate or reasonable.
Studies have actually proven the urban myth that even a small amount of poppy seeds, such as the sprinkle of them you can find on your bagel, can trigger positive results for opiods. This suggests that drug-tests aren’t always accurate.
Drug-tests target marijuana way easier than other illicit substances. The human body can get rid of traces of amphetamines, cocaine, morphine, LSD, and even more substances well within 48 hours. Marijuana or THC on the other hand, depending on how often one consumes it, may take between a week and as long as 30 days for the substance to leave the body. THC may also come up on hair follicle tests even if you haven’t smoked in months.
Due to the long time that marijuana stays in one’s system, stoners who quit looking to pass a test are less likely to pass than someone doing heavier drugs only a few days prior to testing. Based on the facts do you think drug tests unfairly target marijuana users?
image credit: GORD WALDNER / SASKATOON STARPHOENIX