Drug legalization causes companies to roll back drug testing

By Oregon Small Business Association Foundation,

With more employers competing for workers, many have dropped the requirement that applicants urinate in a jar to prove they don’t take drugs, particularly because of so many conflicting laws regarding recreational marijuana use at the federal, state, and local levels.

Although federal law still considers recreational marijuana use a crime, it’s legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

Amazon, the nation’s second-largest employer, led the way in 2021 by announcing it would drop marijuana screening for new hires except for those regulated under the Department of Transportation, a federal agency, according to the Business Journals, and saying it would reinstate former applicants and employees fired because of drug screenings.

Nearly one in 10 of the 45,000 North American and European employers surveyed the Manpower Group say they’ve dropped drug testing requirements to recruit potential workers, according to  Norml.org.

A separate survey by Current Consulting Group in 20202 discovered 44 percent of employers worry about workplace safety issues because of legalized marijuana, but 36 percent had dropped drug testing to increase the labor pool, the Business Journals reported.

Some leaders recommended maintaining drug testing for jobs where injuries are more likely to occur but relaxing them for white-collar positions with fewer workers and public safety risks.

For example, in California, drug screening will continue for workers in hospitals and public safety jobs, considered “safety sensitive positions,” and those governed by state and federal transportation agencies using equipment, according to The Press-Enterprise in Riverside.


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