Drug Testing In The Modern Age

The legalization of cannabis in states across the nation are changing company drug testing policies. States like Maine have chosen to stop pre-employment drug testing and their laws actually prevent employers from using tests for for cannabis. While there are unique industries that require strict drug test measures, many industries are relaxing their standards.

The state of Maine is one of the most unique when it comes to drug testing standards. While they have ensured their laws protect individuals there are some aspects they can not eliminate. Federal employees have federal regulations that out rank the state’s law. Creating a large gap of knowledge for the average individual. The key determining factor is appears is the safety risk and federal regulation of a particular job function.

While Maine’s law was designed to keep employers from discriminating against individuals who consume cannabis on their own time, Maine’s law does not extend to federally regulated positions with federally mandated testing. An example to consider is the Department of Transportation. Employees who work in transportation are federally regulated and will be required to comply with drug testing laws. However, the waitress at the local diner would be protected from unfair discrimination based on a cannabis test.¹

People want to work without worrying about tests.

There are many reasons people may wish to seek employment that does not require a drug test. Some simply do not want their medical privacy invaded. Others feel only dangerous positions should require them. People seeking employment who consume cannabis are concerned when they enter an interview. They fear being asked to submit to a drug test.

The number one question on many pre-employment chat boards are about drug tests. People want to know what kind of tests are being used and if anyone has found a way to beat the test. So, just how many different ways can an employer surprise potential candidates? There’s the urine test that everyone knows and then there is the dreaded hair follicle test.

There are many industries no longer using drug tests. The expense of these tests can be prohibitive for small businesses. Bloomberg reported in March 2018 that corporations such as AutoNation Inc. The reasons companies in recreational and medical marijuana give for no longer drug testing is not only the expense but the high turnover due to the legalization of cannabis consumption.² Simply put, employers can not find enough workers that can pass a cannabis drug test. Also, the same Bloomberg article mentions the obvious: It would be a rare case indeed that a person who stops and has a beer with a friend after work need to worry about an alcohol screening test, but it’s a different story for the individual who consumes cannabis in the same fashion. And AutoNation realized that it was something that was no longer something that they needed to be concerned about.

The change in the laws has lead the way to a change in culture and thinking.

Corporations are looking past cannabis because they, like most of the nation, understand it has value. This change in culture came about due to the news demonstrating the ability of cannabis to save lives. Through the decades of change, cannabis image as an evil vice has become non-exhistent. Employers no longer consider it a big deal and are forgoing cannabis testing in multiple industries.

Doctors Rushing Patient down Hall ca. 2000

Positions which will still require drug tests are those that require use of heavy machinery. In factories and on the roads people who operate machinery are vital to our economy. Their sobriety is vital to the safety of both themselves and those around them. Truck drivers are one of the key workers who will remain on a regular drug test schedule because they are overseen by the Department of Transportation and more importantly their vital job requires them to be sober. While a truck driver may enjoy an alcoholic beverage off the clock they will not be allowed to enjoy cannabis off the clock. The amount of time cannabis stays in your system is far longer than alcohol which processes out of the body quickly.

Semi-Truck Drivers, Airline Pilots, and Train Conductors are transportation experts. Their skills within their industry keep millions of people safe and on time. Doctors and nurses are professionals who may also still be considered for drug tests due to the nature of their work. The nature of the job is going to be the key that determines what drug testing is necessary. With so many differing industries reconsidering who and what to test the types of tests change. Drug testing systems can range from a two panel marijuana and cocaine test to a fourteen panel test which will detect everything from prescription medications to illicit street drugs.

¹Some state websites now have information about this topic. For the Maine example that we used in this article, see ¹www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/substance_abuse_testing/

² Source: www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-29/autonation-looks-other-way-when-applicants-test-positive-for-pot