Why do employers still test for marijuana?

We wanted to take an opportunity to answer a commonly asked question from the audience. “If marijuana is still legal in my state, why is my employer still testing for it?” The simple answer to this is – because they can. Let us further explain some of the details.

As cannabis legislation and subsequent legalization has been happening many employers have lobbied to reserve the right to test. As far as we know there is no state (yet) that prohibits the employer from doing so for any substance. Nor has the basic 5 panel test been modified to remove THC metabolites. It makes sense to a certain degree given they reserve the right to offer employment to the prospective employee, and people who actively use drugs are a liability to said company. Now we would argue that is more applicable to “hard” drugs: meth, heroin, crack etc, even alcohol for that matter, but they didn’t ask us.

Employees that could be intoxicated on the job and harm themselves or others. Further, some employers are given a discount on their liability and health insurance for continuing to drug test. We have seen a higher incidence for nicotine testing (technically cotinine)- a perfectly legal compound for adults now ages 21 and over given the recent age increase for the same reason. These people cost the employer more. We aren’t not trying to institute a political argument, but this is a well documented fact for nicotine as well as other substances. Insert “slippery slope” argument here because it is extremely valid.

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The further issue is what does this test actually prove? By obtaining a urine drug test you are really only “proving”, which we put in quotes because it’s not even proof, that there are metabolites present related to some probable intentional ingestion event – sometimes months prior. It’s not effective as a spot check, nor to answer the question “Are you high right now? If yes, how high are you?” “When was the last time you got high?” is also painfully unanswered by this testing method as well. Still, with its huge inherent flaws this remains the preferred method of screening due to cost and ease of administration. We don’t foreshadow this changing anytime soon regardless of cannabis legalization on the state level. There will only be more disputes related to it, we suspect. If you need help trying to detox THC check out: Greengonedetox.com

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