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How Legal Marijuana Affects Employer Drug Testing


In recent years, the legalization of marijuana has become a hot-button issue. So far, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have legalized recreational pot, while many others have legalized medical cannabis use, with related ballot initiatives appearing almost everywhere.

How Does Legalization Impact Employer Drug Tests?

No matter if it is being used for medicinal or recreational purposes, marijuana is becoming more widely accepted in today’s society. This brings up a controversial issue:

Can employers continue drug testing for marijuana in the workplace?

If the job position does not require drug tests for safety, drug testing is within the rights and decision of the employer. While drug testing is NOT required in all workplaces, according to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, some employers do have the right (and some are required) to test against a variety of drugs. Employees can still be fired or not even hired for failing a drug test provided by an employer.

For more insight, learn more about five things employees should know about marijuana legalization.

Workplace Safety Is Still a PriorityEmployer Shaking Hands

According to the Department of Transportation, safety-sensitive employees are still subject to federal DOT drug testing regulations, regardless of state laws regarding legalized marijuana.

Job types that require drug tests for safety reasons:

  • Transportation
  • Construction
  • Sports

The use of marijuana can affect the user’s motor skills, as well as reaction time, and use of sensory skills, making recreational and medical use dangerous for high-risk occupations.

Currently, Employer Rights Surpass Legalization Laws

It is important that employers maintain their right to pursue and enforce a drug-free working environment. As legalization spreads throughout the country, the responsibility for maintaining a drug-free workplace rests ever more squarely on the backs of the employers themselves.

For more information, read our blog on Random Drug & Alcohol Workplace Policies or contact our team. If your wish as an employer is to restrict and monitor drug use, look to Fastest Labs today.