Nov 13, 2012

Legalized Marijuana Won’t Change Employer Habits

Unless you’ve been stoned since Election Day, you’re aware that Washington State and Colorado have legalized recreational use of marijuana. So, aside from The Feds coming in and spoiling the party, what could go wrong?

How about employers firing users and passing on potential hires?

“Companies are going to mitigate risk,” said Jason Morris, president and COO of EmployeescreenIQ. “The federal government says pot is still illegal, so companies aren’t going to change behavior just because a couple of states change their laws.”

If a company drops $30 on a drug-screens for a candidate and finds out they’re using marijuana… and then that employee crashes a company vehicle and injurs someone, the company can be on the hook. That’s bad.

But don’t put down the bong just yet. According to Morris, “you’d be surprised how few companies actually screen for drugs. Probably less than 50 percent. Most employers don’t want to look in that closet.”

Morris says companies that deal in transportation, education or manufacturing tend to have the most stringent policies on illegal drug usage. Many of these organizations will crackdown on liquor as much as marijuana too.

“If you’re looking for a job, stop smoking,” says Morris. “And if you’re at an employer randomly tests for drugs, don’t do drugs.” According to Morris, marijuana can stay in the system for up to 30 days for chronic users, but typically sticks around for a few days.

Legalized pot or not, sounds like business-as-usual for employers.

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