Company Drug Testing And Legal Marijuana Use Are Strange Bedfellows

The legal penalties for smoking or possessing a little pot are not as scary as they once were. Most states around the country are easing back on marijuana arrests because the foregone conclusion is pot is going to be legalized in every state in the near future. That fact is making company drug testing more of an issue for pot users.

Most companies, especially companies in states where medical marijuana is legal are dealing with a sensitive situation. Testing positive for pot has been reason to deny employment in the past, but now that it’s legal some companies don’t want to overlook qualified job applicants because they use marijuana.

Marijuana use in the workplace was 6.2 percent in 2013. But in Colorado today 20 percent of the work force uses marijuana, and in Washington, pot use was up 23 percent. The question now is should corporate drug testing be ramped up, or should companies loosen the restrictions on marijuana use? The answer depends on company policy. Most companies know productivity suffers when employees use drugs and alcohol on a regular basis. Brian Torchin has seen that firsthand. Companies have an allegiance to their shareholders, even if they are huge like Google or small like a local shop. That connection usually dictates the rules for employee behavior and the enforcement of drug use.

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