Washington, DC: A plurality of Americans oppose workplace policies that permit employers to drug test employees for cannabis in states where its off-the-job use is legal, according to nationwide polling data provided by YouGov.com.
Forty-four percent of respondents said that they opposed “allowing employers to test workers for marijuana in states where [it] is legal.” Thirty-six percent of respondents supported the policy and 20 percent were undecided.
In recent months, several states – such as Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Montana – have enacted legislation limiting employers’ ability to either pre-screen applicants for past marijuana exposure or refuse to hire them. New York’s policy further limits employers’ ability to sanction current employees for their off-hours marijuana use absent evidence of “articulable symptoms of cannabis impairment.”
City officials in several metropolitan areas – such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and St. Louis – have also recently adopted local laws prohibiting marijuana-specific pre-employment and random drug screenings for public employees in non-safety sensitive positions.
Urinalysis, the primary form of workplace drug testing, detects the presence of inactive marijuana byproducts that may be present for as many as 100 days post-abstinence. The detection of these products only indicates that a particular substance is present in the test subject’s body. It does not indicate either recency of use or impairment.
According to data provided in March by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of private worksites engaged in drug screening has fallen by nearly half since the mid-1990s. Industries related to transportation, utilities, construction, and manufacturing are among those most likely to engage in drug screening.
Additional information is available from NORML’s fact sheet, ‘Marijuana Legalization and Impact on the Workplace.’