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Should We Ban Marijuana Drug Testing in the Workplace?

by Countable | 3.28.18

What’s the story?

  • Recreational marijuana is now legal in nine states and Washington D.C., and medicinal pot is legal in 29 states.

  • Over half of employers, however, give drug tests to potential job candidates.

  • As a recent article in The Oregonian pointed out:

"Labor law experts warn that even if cannabis is legal in your state, employers can still drug test and fire you if they find THC in your bloodstream."

  • Is it time to ban marijuana testing in the workplace?

What do the courts say?

  • One of the most widely-cited cases is a 2015 Colorado Supreme Court decision that upheld Dish Network’s firing of a quadriplegic employee for using medical marijuana at home to control his seizures.

  • "The court ruled that a state law barring employers from firing workers for off-duty behavior that is legal did not apply because pot remains illegal under federal law," the AP explained in December 2016. “Similar rulings have been issued in other states including California, Montana and Washington.”

What are states saying?

  • On February 1, 2018, Maine became the first state to bar employers from testing for marijuana. The law also prevents employers from taking adverse action against off-work pot use.
  • Democratic State Rep. David Bowen introduced a similar bill in Wisconsin earlier this month, stating "consuming THC weeks or months out from a job interview should not disqualify someone from finding employment any more than someone who drank a few beers on another date should be kept out of work."

What do you say?

With more and more states legalizing medicinal and recreational marijuana, is it time to ban THC drug testing in the workplace? Should employers respect their state’s – and not federal – marijuana laws? Should drug testing be allowed for recreational, but not medicinal, marijuana use? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

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(Photo Credit: RapidEye / iStock)


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