Ending Job Discrimination Against Marijuana Smokers

One of the most troubling aspects of current marijuana policy in this country, even in those states that have legalized marijuana, is the continuing job discrimination faced by those who smoke marijuana.

In 49 states (Arizona is the sole exception), a private employer is legally free to fire anyone who tests positive for THC in their system, without the slightest suggestion the individual came to work in an impaired condition. It is a relic left over from the “reefer madness” days when marijuana smokers were considered bad people, and employers were anxious to identify smokers and get rid of them.

Arizona does not permit employers to discriminate against legal medical marijuana users (they do not yet have legal recreational use) “unless a failure to do so would cause an employer to lose a monetary or licensing benefit under federal law or regulations.” Of course, employees in Arizona are not protected if they come to work in an impaired condition, or possess or use marijuana in the workplace. Until we manage to change federal law, that is a good model for new states to consider, as they draft either medical use or full legalization proposals.

For those who may not know, it is important to understand that THC remains in the system for days, or for heavy, long-term users even weeks, after the individual has smoked marijuana. But the individual is only impaired for about 90-minutes after smoking. It is the impairment that should be of concern to the employer, not the off-work usage.

The Absurdity of the ‘Drug-Free Workplace’

For too many years, private employers have been encouraged by the federal government to drug test their employees, as a way to enforce the anti-marijuana laws. These employers who opted for what is called a “drug-free workplace,” seemed unaware of the hypocrisy of allowing workers to get drunk in the evening and come to work the following morning, while treating off-job marijuana use as a disqualifying factor, even if it occurred days or weeks earlier.

They justified that distinction on the basis that marijuana was illegal, while alcohol was not. But with the changing marijuana policies and attitudes in this country, including four states and the District of Columbia that have legalized adult use, and a total of 37 states that have adopted some form of legal medical use, that justification no longer applies.

Testing for THC determines only whether the individual has smoked marijuana over the last few days; it is not a test for whether one is impaired when the test is taken. Yet today, even in states where marijuana is legal, the majority of employers continue to fire good employees who test positive for THC, without any indication that the individual has ever come to work in an impaired condition. It is an ignorant and self-defeating policy that no longer has any place in the American workplace.

Unless the off-the-job marijuana use is interfering with that employee’s ability to perform their job in a safe and efficient manner, it should be irrelevant.

We need to better educate employers about marijuana and marijuana smoking, and convince them that drug testing, at least for the purpose of identifying marijuana smokers, is a costly waste of money for the employer and will inevitably result in the unnecessary loss of good, productive employees. Whether one enjoys a glass of wine or a marijuana joint when they relax in the evening has absolutely nothing to do with their fitness as an employee.

Another Reagan Legacy

Workplace drug testing was largely popularized by President Ronald Reagan, who in 1986 issued an executive order requiring federal agencies to establish regulations to achieve a “drug-free workplace,” making it clear that federal employees are forbidden to use illegal drugs “whether on duty or off duty,” and requiring drug testing for all applicants for federal employment, and for federal employees deemed to hold sensitive position.

At that time only about 20 percent of private employers drug tested their employees. Today that number exceeds 80 percent. Private corporations have been enlisted in the war on marijuana smokers in a big way, and it will take some time and effort to turn them around. For too long, employers were made to feel that it would almost be unpatriotic if they refused to drug test their employees, that somehow they would share the blame for the perceived drug abuse problems in America. The unmistakable message was “If you love America, help us enforce the marijuana laws and drug test your employees.” And most fell in line.

We all agree that those who operate dangerous machinery, or have the safety and welfare of large numbers of people in their hands, such as bus drivers and airline pilots, can and should be subject to random drug testing. But the vast majority of employers have no such excuse for violating their employees’ privacy.

Influence of the Drug Testing Industry

Another factor driving workplace drug testing is the influence of the drug-testing industry, which includes some of the former drug czars who have cashed-in on the “drug-free workplace” mantra. Most private employers have no drug abuse expertise, and they are regularly warned by those in the drug-testing industry that if they do not hire these drug-testing companies to test the urine of their employees, they will be losing valuable production by workers who are stoned on the job.

There is not the slightest evidence that stoned employees on the job is a serious problem for employers, or that the money employers spend on these needless drug tests is money well spent. In fact, the National Academy of Sciences in 1994, following a three-year study, published a report entitled Under the Influence: Drugs and the American Workforce, which challenged the cost-effectiveness of drug testing employees.

And the inevitable result of workplace drug testing is the loss of many good, loyal, productive employees who are fired for testing positive for THC, but who have never come to work in an impaired condition. That’s both unfair to the employees and damaging to the employer. As marijuana legalization continues forward across the country, those companies that continue to drug test for marijuana will end up in an uncompetitive position, as other more innovative companies accept the legalization of marijuana and protect their employees from job discrimination.


As we move forward with legalization proposals in more and more states, it is important that those proposing the changes do polling to test the impact of including language similar to that adopted by Arizona voters to protect legal smokers from being fired. If the polling demonstrates that legalization can win with the anti-job discrimination provisions included, then obviously they should be. Next to stopping the arrest of smokers, ending the unfair job discrimination marijuana smokers face must be our highest priority.

But if the polling suggests the inclusion of those job-protection provisions will cause the defeat of the initiative, then the language should be deleted and we should deal with this issue in the second phase of reform. We will continue to work to end the unfair job discrimination faced by marijuana smokers, as well as other needed improvements involving child custody and DUID issues, but it is easier politically for us to fine-tune these new laws once marijuana has been legalized and de-stigmatized, and marijuana smokers are no longer seen as criminals.

And we should focus our efforts on better educating private employers that drug testing their employees for marijuana use is both unnecessary and a waste of resources. In the end, it is the cultural acceptance of responsible marijuana smokers as good citizens that will finally end this destructive policy.

55 thoughts

  1. Please clarify a false concept in this article. You state that “THC remains in the system” for weeks on end. This is not true; it’s the THC metabolites that stay in the system, the left over parts of the tch molecule. To assert that THC is what remains in the system is going to cause some people to conclude that people do in fact remain high on marijuana for days if not weeks after smoking. This is exactly what we need to be clarifying. THe metabolites do NOT produce an altered state, they are merely remnants of the original substance.

    1. Good point.

      (decided there should be a break between “Good point.” and… )
      But, there probably still has not been enough science based testing to see if the metabolites do actually have absolutely zero effect on a person’s performance, judgment, etc. Too many powerful people are anti marijuana. They are just ignorant and scared. How many of these people have ever even tried marijuana? How many of those have ever smoked too much one time and never tried it again? How many of those people have ever tried alcohol one time and got too drunk and never tried IT again? And finally how many of those people have ever got too drunk that first time and somehow they never gave that another go?
      SWIM may be enjoying legal recreational and most likely safer than the driver’s out there having a couple drinks and decide they are probably fine to drive home, marijuana .

  2. Transportation workers must self-admit to six months of ‘treatment for marihuana addiction’, after immediately losing their jobs – before they may ever be rehired. This is mandated by Congress’ FMCSR, and affects America’s largest employing industry: there are 3.5 million truckers, alone. This is like the schoolyard bully taunting, “Stop hitting yourself!” We must all admit ourselves for marihuana addiction, before employers are allowed to consider us for rehire!

  3. It also appears that no products for passing hair tests actually work – and shaving your whole body constitutes refusal, which also requires being immediately fired, followed by 6 months of self admission for drug treatment – before employers in the transportation industry may even consider rehiring the worker. FMCSR contains the most onerous drug law in America.

  4. Taxi drivers, mechanics, dispatchers – countless millions upon millions of Americans, besides the truckers – must self admit to 6 months of marihuana addiction treatment, before possibly getting their jobs, back – for any metabolite in hair, etc. Never does anyone point this out, yet it’s the most critical driving force of the entire drugwar. I afraid to even use hemp soap, and the tobacco is killing me, after years of filling my bank account as a trucker. At least I’ll never borrow money again. Judged 3 Cups, years ago, and thought I’d never touch tobacco. It’s killing me. Donated a couple grand to the victory, last year… sober as a judge, hauling 18 wheels.

  5. Just had a guy in the paper railing about what would happen to his business if pot is legal and about drug testing. Turns out this guy does not test his employees now but thinks if pot is legal he will have to. I set him straight but he probably didn’t listen!

  6. How do you make a lazy potsmoker? Fire a hardworking one…LOL! Keep going with silly “purity” tests and pretty soon we’ll run out of those “pure” enough to work.

  7. In 2011 ex-Governor Jan Brewer singed HB 2541. This HB 2541 gives Companies the right to discriminate against us Cannabis Patients here in Arizona. How do I know this? This happened to me with my ex-employer. After 7 years of working for a transportation company they fired me just for being a Cannabis Card holder. Yes, I did try and get a lawyer until I found out about HB 2541. This has to stop! All of these companies should educate themselves about Cannabis and our Endocannabinoid System.

  8. I agree I used a to work a business were they let you have a job just so long as your UA has less thc then when first tested even dispite its medical . so unlawfully discriminated against it even though its prescribe to me. If that’s not bias I don’t know what is.

  9. The US is the only country to experience a 600 percent increase in overdose fatalities since the widespread adoption of drug testing over the last 25 years. Opiates and benzodiazapenes became popular because you can get a prescription for them and get away with using them on the job or after work. Synthetic drugs are now becoming popular because they don’t show up on the drug test and they are far more dangerous.

  10. Legalization may have to come first, but ending drug testing for marijuana is far more important in getting the nation off of harder drugs. Relegalizing marijuana and ending drug testing for it will lower overdose fatality by 70%

  11. I used to work for AT&T in the 70s and 80s They started testing blood of all the workers. They didn’t tell us what they were testing it for. They told
    us when it was our turn to not eat anything before we came in and they would give us juice and cookies after they drew the blood. They intended to do all three shifts starting with the afternoon shift. We thought it might be for drugs but we weren’t sure. We also knew there were a lot of partiers. Well all of a sudden it just stopped all the testing. They didn’t even finish the afternoon people. I think it would if that’s what they were testing for there were more people than they thought testing positive. To this day we don’t really know what that was all about. And it was in Phoenix.

  12. I agree, ending job discrimination is a priority, and kudos to you, Keith, on this article. You are so right about the drug-testing industry having politicians basically in their pockets and frightening employers into useless testing. If you’re high at work people will be able to tell so I’d venture to say that most cannabis consumers are NOT under the influence at work. I think the drug testing industry knows that, and that’s why they won’t mass produce and market cannabis tests that show impairment at the time of the tests.

    Also, someone mentioned on one of the comments a while back that he got pissed-tested when going for workman’s compensation and got fired that way. Metabolites can get you fired.

    The New York Times has begun its legalization drumbeat again. I hope they keep it up. It’d be nice if they dedicated as section to cannabis weekly if not daily like the Denver Post is doing with The Cannabist.


  13. Keith,
    I liked the article, overall. Upon first reading I had three initial impressions. The first was addressed by the first blog. I would be happy if drug testing was required to detect THC in order to be declared “positive”. To the contrary it is the metabolites that are detected. This is the root of the problem.
    My second thought was regarding your statement that went something like, there is no evidence that stoned workers present a problem for employees. That is where I differ. I fully concur that employees are entitled to non-stoned or drunk employees on the job. The whole cruxt of the problem is the lack of association between a positive test and being under the influence on the job. This creates a Salem witch hunt environment.
    Third, it is interesting to me that this all came about by executive order. I am generally a conservative libertarian independent when it comes to politics. I hate every move Obama makes by executive order, yet that is exactly what Reagan did. Making marijuana illegal should have taken a constitutional amendment, just like alcohol.

  14. “Testing for THC determines only whether the individual has smoked [or consumed] marijuana over the last few days; it is not a test for whether one is impaired when the test is taken. [or during work hours]. Yet today, even in states where marijuana is legal, the majority of employers continue to fire good employees who test positive for THC, without any indication that the individual has ever come to work in an impaired condition. It is an ignorant and self-defeating policy that no longer has any place in the American workplace.”

    Well said Keith. Although I never would have imagined that you would hold Arizona up as a model for ending workplace discrimination of cannabis consumers. Arizona? The same state where the University of Arizona fired Dr. Sisley right before she received FDA approval and published her research on cannabis treatment for PTSD?
    The catch 22 for stating “except for interfering with Federal Grants or monetary income” from the Federal government is that as long as the CSAct, NIDA and the DEA exist they will be incentivized to create a contrived monetary conflict in order to get researchers fired and suppress education, employment or anything that reveals marijuana ‘s synergetic medicinal properties. It’s written into the CSAct and NIDA’s mission statement! Even if the DEA didn’t have this stipulation in Arizona state law to mota-vate them, NIDA still has Federal law within the CSAct authorizing them to use our tax dollars to deny, thwart and suspend any research, employment, loans or grants that publish evidence of marijuana’s medical efficacy. Judging from the evidence we do have of NIDA suppressing the study and research of marijuana through employer discrimination such as cutting funding from Universities or creating unjust costs through “parallel evidence,” and asset forfeitures and prosecutions without a fair trial or due process, it must be determined either by a Federal court and/or Congressional review that these kinds of cannabis research workplace discriminations are unconstitutional, along with the entire CSAct itself.

    I know, the network of piss testing chains are owned by Congressman on both sides of the aisle such as Democratic Chair Debbie Wassermann-Shultz, FL, and just about every other Floridian Republican, and yes, I know hard compromises have to be made so we can legalize first and “fix it later” when it comes to the Devil in the details like workplace discrimination for cannabis consumers…
    …But I just don’t see Arizona ‘s laws being a model while monetary jeopardy is the very reason marijuana researchers have lost employment all these years! Too many medical trainers still don’t know jack-$#!+ about the endocannabinoid system much less about phytocannabinoid-terpene synergy.
    So how are we supposed to educate corporations about the duration of time THC is metabolized within the human body if the CSAct can continue to get our best researchers like Dr. Sisley fired from the University of Anti-marijuana-zona?

    It appears to me that the heart of the cannabis employment discrimination beast is in the CSAct and we need to get satirists like John Oliver to expose what NIDA and the CSAct have been doing to us all these years so Congress will not only FINALLY PASS the CARERS Act… But we need to make Congress dissolve NIDA and replace this archaic institution with L.E.A.D. Programs in every small town, farm and city in America, treating real addictions from opiates and real crimes like rapes and murders to create a more productive society (and therefore workplace… ) before we can ever stop the piss-testing industry from underwriting the narrative of marijuana and workplace productivity.

  15. This is why I have no respect for any of the truckers any more. They just bend over and take it with out any issues. I see them all as anti-American to the core, the companies and the drivers. When the criminals started drug testing the drivers, I sold all 10 of my semi trucks and quit the business.

  16. @Keith Stroup – Thank you for all you do to stop the madness! Your words are a bit of sanity in a world full of ignorance and insanity!

    We, as a huge and powerful group, should boycott all major businesses that want to continue their foolish drug free policies. We could all start with a couple of major offenders – Dish Network and Walmart!

  17. I have a particularly hard time with drug testing because of a very slow metabolism. I was a heavy smoker and mostly smoked because it relieves anxiety issues that no other medication seems to help. I wanted to change careers, so I completely stopped smoking. I used home urine tests to see when I would be able to pass a drug screening. It took about 3 and a half months before I could pass the home tests. I feel my rights to privacy are stomped upon every time I have to agree to pre-employment drug screenings. It is appalling that I can still be labeled an illegal drug user after not smoking for three months. I currently do not smoke at all so it does not affect my job possibilities and I just fight through my anxiety issues. It’s too bad, because it negatively effects my overall quality of life. Things have to change. US citizens have been reduced to being treated like children that cannot decide for themselves what they can and cannot do outside of the workplace. The way I see it, if someone is doing a good job and does not seem intoxicated at work, leave them alone. If someone comes in to work smelling like marijuana and acting stoned, fire them. If someone is doing a crappy job, fire them regardless of whether they look intoxicated or not. It’s simple, really.

  18. (It’s a 5 o clock world when the whistle blows no one owns a piece of my time) Thanks Norml, but no I don’t quite agree with your ideas about safety sensitive jobs. If a person can’t aspire to a career in aviation, or a place in the military over marijuana use I think is wrong.
    Creeps, and punks aside, I think the drug war was good for many of us. It made solid, and decent people out of us well worth the chance an employer might take without the need for random drug tests. Let’s not have those of want to achieve held back!
    Our nation’s flag has been attached to dubious causes before, like racial segregation, however this is our nation’s bill of rights lets not give it up to prohibition easily.

  19. I live in Az, my company has a “zero tolerance” drug policy. I’ve been employed with them for 7 years. I’ve been a marijuana consumer for 15 years, and been a mmj patient since voted in here. I keep records of everything from my so called “random” test, to our company forcing employees to sign a acceptance letter after receiving our NEW employee hand books. In the new books in a meeting setting I asked what changed from our old hand books, our hr rep said we have new safety protocols for all employees.
    A very vague answer considering my findings after a comparison, the only Chang was an installation clause that they do not consider marijuana to be medicine, and being a patient will not save your job.

    My question is what good are laws when employers can choose what to enforce. It’s completely bullshit. I cannot wait for the rescheduling of mmj , and defacto lifting of federal restrictions by doing so.

    Good work Norml. Keep this topic going it’s very important to so many people, and should be at the forefront of every medical marijuana artical, discussion or debate!!!!

  20. Speaking of discrimination against marijuana consumers brings me to the Sandra Bland incident because I’m still perplexed as to how she could test positive for cannabis while in a jail cell. If you wrap something soft around a person’s wrists and ankles you can hold them up off the floor and then they can be asphyxiated or hanged with a garbage bag tied to a toilet stall or a wall that they otherwise would be able to reach with their feet. I don’t trust the police there. A heart attack can be faked with an insulin overdose or even with ricin unless you know what to look for. Constraining the victim’s appendages will leave black and blue marks like with strangling (around the neck) and appendages usually have some kind of marks, too. This could be made to look like a suicide but be something other than that.

    Jurrian DeCock spent his career as a homicide detective in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and has seen more than one murder that’s been staged to appear as a suicide, and has run into some corrupt cops in his career.

    This case deserves more scrutiny.


  21. I realize the metabolites linger, but the high amount in the test results, such as was reported in The Cannabist. I’m thinking she didn’t want to put out the cigarette because she needed it to cover the smell of marijuana on her. Tobacco smokers often use cigarettes to try to cover over the smell of marijuana with a smoke screen of stinky tobacco smoke.

    The Cannabist reported:

    “HEMPSTEAD, Texas — An initial toxicology report for Sandra Bland, who died in a Texas jail cell three days after her arrest during a traffic stop, raises the possibility that she may have used marijuana while in custody, two experts said.

    The amount of THC, one of the active components of marijuana, in Bland’s system was 18 micrograms per liter (18 nanograms per milliliter), according to the report released Monday. That’s more than three times the legal limit for drivers in Colorado and Washington, states that permit the recreational use of marijuana.

    “I don’t think it’s possible to rule out the possibility of use while in jail,” said University of Florida toxicology professor Bruce Goldberger, who reviewed the report for The Associated Press. Bland was impaired by marijuana at the time of her death, Goldberger said.”


  22. THANK YOU for finally addressing this important issue. For some reason, even though everyone is up in arms about the abuses of the surveillance state and the abuses of the Drug War, no one ever even questions this most prevalent junction between the two of them. For some reason, everyone seems to find it acceptable.

    A couple of issues:

    First, drug testing needs to be abolished or outlawed entirely, not just given a marijuana-only exception. At the very least, it needs to have all government funding stripped from it. (Did you know that your employer can write off the cost of drug testing on his taxes? And gets further tax breaks just for being a “drug-free” workplace? And in some states, like Ohio, gets a chunk of his worker’s comp insurance subsidized with tax dollars? As long as tax dollars are paying for drug testing programs in private workplaces, it is absolutely a Fourth Amendment issue. Let employers pay for their own counter-effective waste of money, if it’s so great for business. Oh, wait, they tried that and didn’t like it, and in came Uncle Sam to cover the tab.)

    Besides, drug testing can and has been used to test people for legally protected things. For example, in 1988, the WA police tested all their employees, supposedly for drugs, but in reality they were using the guise of drug testing to test all the female employees for pregnancy. It would be interesting to find out if people who have diabetes or heart conditions or other health conditions are having a harder time than others in finding work, particularly at companies that drug test.

    And no, not everyone would agree that it should be retained for “safety-sensitive” positions. That was the wedge argument made to force it into the workplace in the first place, to create the illusion that it was a safety requirement when in fact it was, as has been said in this excellent article, merely a way to recruit private employers into fighting the Drug War on fronts where the government has no power (a subcontracting of civil liberties violation, if you will). Why is it that we all know that drug testing is inaccurate and entirely ineffective for anything but marijuana, to the point that it is being constantly proven to increase hard drug use in the workplace, but we still think we need it to catch the hard drug users? If MJ users are turning to hard drugs BECAUSE drug testing is so useless for catching hard drugs, to the point where 98% of all positive MJ tests are for marijuana, and we know that it doesn’t test for impairment or intoxication but past use, but we still think it’s an important and useful tool for catching hard drug users?

    Drug testing companies claim to have anywhere from 98% to 100% accuracy, but independent surveys of the companies have returned false positive rates ranging from 10% or, more often, 30%, according to a National Workrights article. That means 10-30% of people losing their jobs or going back to jail for failing a drug test have not used any drugs. And that doesn’t even take into account false negatives! Does that sound “safe” to you?

    You want to find some way to keep impaired people from doing safety-sensitive jobs? Use fitness-for-duty testing, which NASA uses (or so I have been told), which tests a person’s immediate coordination and reaction times AND has the added benefit of not only catching impairment but catching it REGARDLESS of whether it is caused by booze, drugs, lack of sleep, illness….and I have news for you, safety-lovers: DRUGS ARE THE LEAST OF THESE TO HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON WORKPLACE SAFETY. Yes, even hard drugs have such a minor effect on workplace safety that alcohol actually dwarfs the effect of ALL drugs on the workplace. Heck, fatigue has a larger impact on workplace safety! If you are so worried about “safety-sensitive” jobs, why aren’t you clamouring for breathalyzers on every time-clock or piece of construction equipment, similar to the ones they put on the cars of drunks? That would do infinitely more to increase workplace safety than any amount of piss-testing.

    Someone above mentioned that we need to start boycotting or creating some kind of business consequence for companies that utilize drug testing. I agree. I have refused for years to shop at any store that drug tests its employees. It takes some effort, but it is doable. If there is no choice, I at least prioritize random over pre-employment, and of course with-suspicion over both of them. I would like to start a list of companies that drug test, with a designation of how/why they do it, so that people can avoid these businesses if they want to make a difference. It would be something like that one on TestClear, but maintained better and not intended specifically for the purposes of outsmarting the drug tests. This might have an effect, especially if we start some kind of letter-writing campaigns against some of these companies that drug test their employees, with letters of congratulations and support to those that do not. That, coupled with the elimination of government subsidization of drug testing programs in the private workplaces, could have one hell of an effect.

    I may just go ahead and start one, and if anyone wishes to add to the list, here is a new post at my blog: http://enddrugtesting.blogspot.com/2015/08/report-employers-that-drug-test.html. I will probably start with my own list at home, set up a format, and when I get enough entries I will start publishing.

    Here’s another thing that occurred to me when I found out that the company that does the drug testing at my job also selects the “random” samples: is it really random? I know for a fact that there is little to no regulation or enforcement of drug testing labs or the companies themselves, so are they really randomly selecting people or could they be targeting people they believe will have a better chance of testing positive? Is this random selection actually turning up a lot of young people and/or ethnic minority-sounding names, for example? I don’t have the training or expertise to conduct such an experiment, and I wouldn’t even know how to go about getting that kind of data, but it would be interesting, now wouldn’t it? Maybe in the future, set up a place people can anonymously report when they’ve been “randomly” selected, as well as some details such as ethnicity, gender, age range, and perhaps even political affiliation/openness of anti-prohibition support.

    Conspiracy theory? Maybe. But I find it interesting that I was only “randomly” selected to be piss-tested after my employer found out that I support NORML and want to end prohibition, and I find that a mighty interesting little coincidence.

  23. A drug free work place is laughable anyway. Where I work, they have a no tolerance drug free work place policy and yet push caffeine, in the form of coffee, on to there employees as if it weren’t a drug. A drug is a drug, is a drug, no matter how you perceive it. Hypocrisy is the devil’s work.

  24. In California, Schwarzenegger passed a law that allows corporations to fire employees that fail a MJ drug test. Republicons are not our friends.


  26. I agree, ending job discrimination is a priority, and kudos to you, Keith, on this article. Even here in Spokane, WA where recreational marijuana is legal; 95% of all employer’s test for marijuana, the ironic hypocrisy. What about alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.

  27. Drug Testing is just one of the authoritarian efforts to maintain slavery in a workforce obtaining the minimum of pay for a maximum of efforts. “Just Say No”, “drug free workplace”, and “This is your brain, this is your brain on drugs,” are just a few of the media’s attempt to promote prohibition. Experience has shown the truth to be far from what we were told by authorities. Time will wrest from the fearfilled ignorant control, and prohibition will go to the wayside of the overused like, war, rape, pillage…..you get the drift.

  28. Thank you for this blog indeed. I just got fired this week for testing positive for cannabis. My boss liked me and told me I was a good worker, I was well liked by my co-workers. I work my ass off and did the majority of the work in my department. I am the type of person who will help anyone, anytime. I was also the only one who had any experience on a forklift and because of that was asked to help any less experienced people. I was asked to help a co-worker in a near catastrophe when the metal trash dumspter had nearly fallen off of his lift, something I had done several times before with no incident. In doing so the load backrest on my co-workers lift damaged the roll up door slightly, and I was sent for a drug test and the rest is history. I have never felt quite like this in my life. And really, do I have to eliminate something that so improves my quality of life for a measly 12 dollar an hour home depot job!? To hell with corporate America and the sick, criminal politicians hiding behind a flag while they profit off of costing Americans their their jobs and their freedom. Here’s to living in a better world. I thank you all and wish everyone the best.

  29. @LLOYD.

    I’m not sure where your from, but 99% of all jobs in the USA require a pre employment drug test. So where would you suggest the 60-80% of employees using any form of marijuana work?

    The movie “reefer madness” although the information contained is complete and total BS, has and continues to influence all levels of government officials. Every single argument opposing marijuana can be traced back to that movie. The “Gateway theory” ect….. It’s “yellow journalism” style, fear mongering, idealistical propaganda gave berth to the drug testing industry.

    To say this movie has nothing to do with current state of affairs is ludicrous. Just go ahead and smoke your cigarettes and drink you liquor and place your head back in the sand and stay ignorant twords marijuana. Someone has to, it’s got to be getting lonely on that side of the argument.

    Keep up the great work NORML!!!!!

  30. Second class citizenship, and being stigmatized await all of us down the safety sensitive test road. What this means is that maybe it’s alright for an employ to stack pallets or clean toilets, but because he/she smokes marijuana, is therefore considered to stupid to operate a forklift. Here in southeast Idaho it’s mostly the company’s that use staffing agencies that violate our 4th, and 5th amendment rights.

    Can you learn to say these word my friends? ” T

  31. A.D. sorry to hear about your job loss. You make me think about if I should ever shop at home depot again. If you can, go into business for yourself, that way you never have to worry about drug testing, right?

    I hope mj gets legalized nationally and soon. that way, companies will be forced to give up their discrimination against marijuana users.

  32. So it is acceptable for safety sensitive employees to still be fired for off duty marijuana usage, but they can drink as much as they want? You seemed to make that point.

    I work in a safety sensitive industry, do you know how many of my coworkers come in hung over as can be after getting tanked the previous day. We need a test that can measure actual marihuana impairment.

  33. We must realize that many of the larger proponents of drug testing are somehow tied in or associated with the major corporations; the same corporations that hire lobbyists to perpetuate their agendas of ‘profits over people.’ These companies influence entire industries to continue the drug testing nonsense, as part of the “War on Drugs.”
    That includes:

    Big Pharma (Cannabinoids cure nearly all)
    Textile companies (Hemp is a major threat)
    Law enforcement (Prison industrial complex)
    Alcohol producers (Cannabis is a much safer)

    Once we take the power away from the aforementioned industries, it will be much easier to move forward with sensible discussions and reasonable progress.

  34. Never mind job discrimination, I was discriminated against for using medical cannabis at my apt building, even though, “I never smoked in my apt.” I used to walk over to the adjoining property to be totally off my property. This was a SHAG Senior Apt. I’m 65. The apt mgrs phoned Hud to see if they could evict me, Hud said, “No.” But Shag reps went on in court to say they wanted to evict me for using cannabis. Yet, several other tenants used cannabis.

  35. Floridas Gov Rick Scott’s wife owns a large drug testing company in Florida. No wonder he pushed to drug test welfare recipients.

  36. This is a very nice article. I came across it while frustrated about the fact that I was offered, then lost a new job based on responsible consumption of legal weed.

    I am 37 years old and recently moved to Washington state after retiring from a 17 year career as an account manager within Group Health Insurance (most recently Large Group Life and Disability Insurance) to go back to school full time. I am now in need of a part time job to pay bills and tuition.

    I applied for and was offered a job at Home Depot that would work wonderfully around my class schedule, and paid well for a part time position. However, because I have smoked legally purchased weed sometime around a week before applying for this job, I failed the drug test and the offer was rescinded.

    I feel like this is a complete infringement on my personal rights. I am not a criminal, I have NEVER worked impaired (by weed or otherwise), and I live by a belief in responsible consumption. However, after getting a phone call today telling me that I can’t have a job because I am a pot smoker, I feel criminalized.

    Especially when I have all but given up alcohol for weed due to the fact that I feel alcohol affects my judgement and motor skills when weed does not. Basically, I like to keep my wits about me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I will have a beer here and there… sometimes more when I know I am not driving, but it is not often. Maybe as infrequent as once a month these days…

    However, here I sit, feeling like I was passed over for a job I need because someone views me as some “loser pot head”. Honestly, as much as I care about everything I do, including my employment (whether I like that job or not)… I feel a little hurt after that call. I have never had anything like this happen to me before, and I haven’t even done anything illegal.

  37. I just quit a 5 year career with a decent company to work for another company.

    HR called me and told me they would random test me for two years. Didn’t disclose this in the interview.

    I’m a hard working, smart, talented employee.

    It’s not right.
    I wasn’t about to give up my privacy for a job that pays $25k a year.

    I was heart broken. Sobbing. Feeling like a complete loser because I like to smoke a bowl at night to relax and help me sleep.


  38. Its discrimination like this that leads to honest people becoming dishonest or having to resort to doing things they wouldn’t typically do, all because you smoke a plant that helps you relax. I’ve had too many negative experiences with pharmaceutical drugs that when i’m ill (physically/emotionally/stressed) marijuana is the only solution as far as medicine goes. I was heavily anti-pot up until i was twenty-four years old, primarily due to my ignorance about it and assuming everyone that smoked it was like the burnouts you see doing nothing all day. It wasn’t until i smoked marijuana that a lot of my stress and fear of being more ambitious in the world went away.

    I’m now in a position where i can’t even look for new work and i’m stuck where i’m at because i have marijuana in my system. Its as if i’m being forced to choose between my sanity and job security. Its not right.

  39. My RN license was taken away by LSBN for testing positive Marijuana. I was a great employee with no workplace issues and 35 years experience, totally unfair that one cannot smoke on their time off. I feel I was made an example of to others.

  40. Drug testing is counterproductive in all forms because it incentivizes use of more dangerous drugs, especially alcohol. The overdose epidemic began in 1992 which coincides directly with the passage of the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991. The US drug tested itself into the overdose epidemic. It’s obvious!

  41. An individual can smoke a bunch of meth but as long as they quit a few days before testing thier good. Not so with pot. Fire potheads and hire tweekers immediately!

    1. No don’t hire tweekers, tweekers kill. Let’s not hire anyone who drinks in private or public, alcohol kills more than anything else. That’s what is wrong with this country, we legalize the #1 killer, alcohol, and throw people in prison for smoking herb, which God gave us by the way! Just don’t get high at work, might as well cause they treat us like we do anyway.

  42. If you define places where some do what most consider a recreational smoke its not a drug policy issue, its others that look at it as a derrent ,like a place of work some think youre a dealer if its just a smoke; let others think what they want it might be the employer that once had the problem that they cant have a smoke !

  43. yeah yall are afraid to smoke pot but not meth give me a break poor trucker. why don’t you bye your on truck and sub contract. use your brain or go to school and get a real job.

  44. Drug tested. Got letter 19 days later!!! DISPUTED RESULTS..Tested beyond BCRC policy …What the H=LL does that mean??

  45. I need help, I’m interviewing for some really good job opportunities that will really benefit my family and I. But of course as you know the inevitable drug test will be coming up, I’ve gone 17 days without smoking but it’s been rough! And honestly I don’t want to stop smoking, I like it and it helps me with certain aspects in my life. What should I do, continue uninspired, edgy and just abstain? Boooo! I’m close to just doing something shady like doctoring the pee sample, strapping clean pee to my leg or something else. Does anybody have any suggestions to pass a pee test, a regular Quest Diagnostics pee test nothing crazy. HELP!!

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