Even When Weed Is Legal, Employees Face Risks

from Fast Company

As more states legalize or move toward legalizing medicinal or recreational cannabis, many may assume that they’re free to partake in accordance with the law. But, for employees, smoking or otherwise ingesting marijuana could possibly lead to disciplinary action or termination by your employer—even if you get high on your own time.

According to the National Cannabis Industry Association, 33 states have laws legalizing medical cannabis, and 11 of those also have legalized recreational use. But, even if it’s legal at the state level, federal law still prohibits cannabis use. That can lead to complicated compliance issues, especially for companies that need to meet certain federal requirements for their contracts.

“Let’s say you’re a truck driver and your employer’s required to abide by Department of Transportation regulations. We’ve got this kind of crossover and interplay that employees and employers have to be mindful of, in terms of how the federal law and the state laws intersect,” says Melissa Ferrara, a labor and employment attorney at Reed Smith and a member of the law firm’s cannabis team. Employers may also be fearful of liability if an employee has an accident or safety issue and then has a positive drug test.

More here.

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  1. This article really opened my eye to another factor of the complexity of legalizing weed. I have always been supportive of the legalization of weed and I hope that it will becomes fully legal here in New Jersey. I believe the pros of it outweigh the cons, and it seems many people across the country in positions of power agree with me. However, there are many problems and questions that need to be answered where it is legal for recreational or medical use. One of these questions is drug testing, which is a question I never even thought of. Even though marijuana may be legal, depending on where you live, for medical or recreational use, but corporations still drug test their employees or potential employees. I find this interesting, because I wonder what corporations and employees will do. The amount of positive drug tests will likely increase in places where marijuana is legalized. Will employers continue to punish employees who test positive in these locations? Will they be more lenient due to the fact marijuana is now legalized and more accessible? Corporations have to consider their approach to this because “even if it’s legal at the state level, federal law still prohibits cannabis use”. Many corporations have to meet certain federal requirements. There are also questions for employees as well. Will they use marijuana now that it is legalized even though it may have ramifications on their jobs? Will people look at corporation’s policies on drug testing and let that be a factor when applying for a job? Even though that may seem extreme, many people will consider this question. They will not work for an employer who will punish them or terminate their contract due to them using weed. Some states, such as Arizona and Montana, have statues that protection to employees regarding drug testing. I think this is a sticky situation for corporations. Before, it was not even a discussion because weed was illegal. Now, you may have consider and discuss. You obviously cannot have your employees being intoxicated on the job. However, them smoking weed in their own time is fully legal now. There are also corporations who find it hard to find employees and their current situation gives them a small margin for error. They cannot afford to lose employees, especially in the tight labor market. Weed will continue to get legalized medically and recreationally throughout the country. Corporations and have to deal with how it will affect them.

  2. When it comes to the legalization of weed, I am full for its medical use. As for recreational use, I think just like alcohol it should be restricted to age and a dedicated area like private property or a smokehouse for example. There, of course, are hole to this idea because weed can be ingested in other ways besides inhaling it. In that case, I’d say so long as it is not in the public viewing. Marijuana was used and widely accepted in America up until the 70s with the rise of hippies. It was then added to the controlled substance act of 1970 where it became a schedule one drug along the sides of heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Since then cannabis plant has been branded with stigma. Now as more states legalize the plant not only as a medicinal object, but also for recreation, the employers are in a tight spot. In states where the use is legal, I find it trivial for an employer to terminate their employee because of a positive marijuana test. I stand with the employee that what they do outside of their job is up to their own free will. The argument, however, can be made that they (the employee) represents the employer. That is very true, however so long as the employee is not partaking in any illegal activity, and not openly giving the company a bad reputation than I find it to be okay. The argument can also be made what if they are getting high at work, in that case it is okay to terminate the employee as he/she should be working and not getting high, just like drinking alcohol on the job. In cases of using the plant for medical use should be handled differently. The use of medical marijuana should be handled as a medicinal object, as such the employee has no say in termination for the use of a medical substance because it is hindering the employee to follow their medical practitioner’s instructions to get better. In cases where weed is not legal then the law should follow-through, with cases where the use of medicinal weed is legal then termination should not happen so long as the employee can bring up medical documentation for the use of weed. I can see how this can be a very complex situation although I feel it should not be made out to be as big as the article claims it to be. I think that the solution is simple, if the state has legalized the recreational use of pot then the only time termination can be used fairly is in the event the employee has either been under the influence at work or out in the public area as it brings down the company name and the employee is unable to perform his duties to his highest extent possible. In cases where weed is only legal for medicinal use then the employee must bring forth medical documentation showing they need this substance to get better.

  3. The legalization of marijuana has been a significant topic in government for many years. Although it was initially California and Colorado who stood at the forefront of those debates for many years, much of the country is pushing for some of the same rights today. Currently, marijuana is legal for adults in 11 states, while medical marijuana is legal in 33 states. Because this is a very prevalent topic in today’s society, many politicians utilize their support of legalizing weed in order to welcome the support of the younger voters.

    Personally, I support the legalization of cannabis for the simple fact that there are not any extreme dangers in allowing it. It can improve the life of a patient, assure consumer safety, as well as introduce an abundance of new jobs in the upcoming industry. The marijuana industry added 64,389 jobs in 2018 alone, so imagine if it was supported nationwide. Not only that but once marijuana is legalized with a set of rules and regulations, the government can monitor its production, sales, and use in order to keep the public better informed of what they’re actually smoking. The list of pros goes on and on, but this article did introduce an interesting perspective I never thought about.

    Drug tests have been a routine step in company policy for as early as the Vietnam War. Marijuana has been one of the many drugs incorporated in the test, in which the article points out the complications of drug testing if recreational use becomes legal. Many jobs do not allow the use of any drug, especially ones on the federal level like law enforcement or jobs in political office. My proposal to that problem is that if you choose to take on jobs with those drug-free requirements, you have to understand what comes along with it- no weed. For instance, for my future career in federal law enforcement (FBI), I am aware that I cannot partake in such activities. Although doing so would be perfectly legal, it is important to recognize the level of influence you hold and the fair reason why it is prohibited.


  4. With the increased legalization of marijuana across multiple states in the country, the issue of the conflicting legal status of marijuana between state law and federal law has become an issue that affects many aspects of life. While the drug is currently legal in some places, employers can penalize and even terminate employees who test positive for the drug. I believe that because the drug is legal, there is no reason, besides an employee showing up intoxicated, for an employer to penalize anyone who tests positive for the drug. I strongly believe that this case will end up raising a constitutional question of the 14th amendment because it will come down to a discrimination issue. People who smoke marijuana have been marginalized for decades. Now that the drug is legal, there is no justification for this discrimination. Similarly, I think it will come down to the public opinion that recreational marijuana use is no different from alcohol consumption. If someone wants to relax after a long day of work; there is no real difference between smoking a bit of marijuana and having a glass of wine. If anything, marijuana could be a better alternative for some individuals. Many individuals also use marijuana for medical purposes. Marijuana has been proven to work as a painkiller and in some cases help individuals lessen their symptoms. People who suffer from seizures, glaucoma, cancer, and diseases that affect anxiety, sleep, appetite, and pain levels all benefit from the use of marijuana. People are losing their jobs because of their diseases. These people suffering from these diseases should not be terminated from their jobs because they are trying to feel better. Especially because they are legally attaining the drug. The initial banning of marijuana is unjust and an excuse to target lower-income communities. Now that public opinion has somewhat shifted, the states have legalized it, and the fact that there have been zero recorded overdoses on marijuana in history; there is no reason that employers should also penalize users. It is a violation of citizens’ rights, specifically rights enlisted in the 14th amendment. For these reasons, employers should stop testing their employees.

  5. There has been a lot of consideration about whether Weed should be legal or not. There are both benefits and drawbacks if it is legal or not. There are risks either way. Some employers smoking marjiuana could possibly lead to being terminated. The reason it is not favorable everywhere, is that it can cause a compliance issue. It can affect you at your job, and what your actions do. A lot of employee’s might not be mindful of what their actions at work are because of the effect of weed.
    There is a lot of liability that comes with employee’s smoking weed. It hurts their work ethic and their performance. There is a lot of fear when it can affect their work ethic because there can be a lot of incidents and safety issues. It can not only hurt them, but it can also hurt others around them, and the company if it is a big mistake. If there is a drug test, it might also not be safe because people can easily work around it and cause more trouble.

  6. Marijuana legalization is a hot topic that is beginning to actually make its way into the federal government. We see the positive opinion surrounding marijuana with two/thirds of the population rooting for its decriminalization. That being said, the control of the employer to act as he or she pleases is not something that people often consider in this conversation.

    With an acceleration in the amount of states legalizing the drug on a state level, the room for complications has gotten much larger considering it still hasn’t gained much footing on the national level. Employers could theoretically abuse this especially if the job involves interstate commerce where the employee may pass state lines where the drug is no longer legalized. I am not quite sure how I feel about employers being in a position to do this. While I support the right of the business owner to own and operate their business as they see fit, I think there is a degree of legislation that has to push them in the right direction. The Masterpiece Cake Shop and its refusal to make a cake for a gay wedding is a prime example of businesses going a bit to far with how they discriminate against others.

    Allowing owners absolute freedom to execute their will over the their workers just for having THC in their system is taking advantage of your freedom to manage your business. Like the article says, THC is a psychoactive chemical that remain in the system long after it stops producing effects on the users mental state. For 99% of the time it is detectable in the system, it serves as nothin less than a marker that the person has smoked in the past. There is no reason, assuming you are not one of the brainwashed who doesn’t support sweeping legislation, that this should be a reason to take any form of disciplinary action against the employee. Colorado has recently shot down the proposal for employers to be restricted from this type of action, and the bill was unanimously shut down by their House of Business Affairs and Labor Committee, upholding the right to take action against employees who use marijuana off the clock. I understand some of the concerns, as no reliable way to test the impairment of the individual has come to fruition, but this is further reason that we need more substantial studies on marijuana so that we do not need to worry about testing for impairment and can have less ignorant people who will just be blindly against it.

    Marijuana and alcohol have similar effects on the mental state of the user, but one carries a significant risk of killing you and one does not. The fact that the deadlier substance (alcohol) has been legalized and accepted in all facets of our society, yet some of its most avid supporters have fought with me tooth and nail over the “sin” of marijuana is absolutely baffling. The logic of employers regarding THC should apply to alcohol as well if they were consistent, but the fact that they arent shows that they are only part of an echo chamber that does not real research on anything.

  7. The legalization of marijuana has been a huge discussion topic for some years now. Many are for it and do not believe that it is not a harmful substance. Others believe that it should be illegal and that it is harmful to the mind and body of a person. The way I look at it is it should be a choice on whether you should be able to smoke or not just like Tobacco. In essence, it’s the same thing. You smoke both of them to relieve yourself of the struggles of life. They both smell bad when they are smoked and I think cigarettes smell worse than weed. They are both smoked to get a buzz, it’s just that marijuana has a longer buzz that can be attained. I do not see why weed cannot be legal.
    The only downside to weed is that it makes you unproductive sometimes, but that is different from person to person. Some can stay on top of their duties and smoke at the same time while others need to do everything before they start to smoke. It’s all based on choices and limits. You need to know your limits and you need to know what you need to get accomplished that day. Another thing is moderation. You cannot be doing it all the time everything should be done in moderation. If people can manage their intake and use it responsibly then there is no reason that it should be illegal.
    On the business aspect, the usage of weed should be based on the employer’s preference and beliefs. If your employer does not want his employees high on the job or in the office then you have to follow their rules because it is their business and you agreed to work for them. This is where it gets tricky because people could go home after a long day at work and just want to smoke a bowl before bed. If the employer drug tests their employees, some of them will test positive, but not because they are high at work or on the job but because they use it in their free time.

  8. Many obstacles meet the legalization of something as monumental as the legalization of marijuana. Those being the implementation of it into society. Also, not an obstacle per se, but there are heavy economic effects due to a flourishing weed market.
    Considering social spheres, the usage of marijuana is widespread throughout the country. So, when state claims it legality for recreational use, residents from other who seek that legislation will take notice. For those who are not knowledgeable may claim they want to move that location as a result. However, those residents will run into obstacles they may not have foreseen. The instances where the usage is prohibited involve the workplace can conflict with what is conducted in your leisure.
    It’s apparent in the article that in the grand scheme of things, marijuana legislation is still relatively new. There is grey area where rulings can be debated. In the article, an employer rescinded a job offer because traces of marijuana were found. Although traces of THC may be found within the urine there could be many aspects for the narrative. Although the court favored the user of the medical marijuana, it should be expanded further than that. Legislation should be pushed insofar as people can use it on their own personal time and not be punished for it at work, so long as they are not under the influence while working. However, preceding that should be the legalization for medical then recreational use.
    In places where the drug has become available for recreational use, the tax revenue as well as the revenue made off sales has boosted the economy and has to potential to do the same on a national scale. Ever since its Colorado legalization in 2014, it has made over $1 billion dollars in tax revenue. Not to mention the added benefits of creating a legal market on a sought-after product. More jobs can be distributed in the form of dispensaries and farmers to grow the product. According to Investopedia, the market can conceivably support over 41,000 jobs until 2024 and will generate over $1.7 billion in labor income, which could in turn be put back into the economy.
    There are many legal logistics to be figured out regarding the legalization of marijuana, but if it comes to fruition, it will help not only the economy but the people who need it as well.

  9. Over the past couple of years we have seen an upswing in the legalization process among many countries and the legalization has brought us to analyze what consequences it may have on people living and consuming it in US states. These new laws have opened my eyes to the facts that companies are facing huge legal liabilities due to cannabis only being legal at state level, and prohibited at the federal level. I do agree that it is possible that some people will overdue the use of THC in these legalized states, such as ingesting it, or smoking it on the job and that can have huge affects on their company, for example, if they are involved in a fatal accident and there is active THC found in their systems, the company could face lawsuits and a lot of backlash. This year, the Employee Protection Lawful Off-Duty Activities proposed bill, which prohibits an employer from terminating an employee for the employee’s lawful off-duty activities that are lawful under state law even if those activities are not lawful under federal law conduct, and gives employees less regulations to conduct these activities on their free time. I believe that this is a positive step in the right direction because if something is legal at the state level, you should not be prohibited to take part in it because of an occupations guidelines. Especially when you’re off the clock. I was surprised to hear drug testing has been scaled back by companies in the legal state because of the fact that THC stays in your system for a ‘couple of weeks’ so it is very hard to tell accurately when someone has used cannabis. Although the legalization of Marijuana is inevitable, it will come with a lot of regulations and people need to be aware and responsible when using it. Of course no one should be intoxicated by these substances at work but It is hard to answer whether or not someone can face penalties until there is an accurate way of proving that THC was present in the body when the employee was on their shift. Whether it being it was medical or recreational will also have an affect on the consequences one would face from their employers.

  10. Today , there are a lot of employees, whether it be the CEO of a company or the janitor , who loves to smoke weed. I personally have not smoked weed ever in life due to the consequences I see people face, whether it be years in jail , losing their job, or having it on their record for the rest of their lives. It is just not worth it, yet if it is to be legalized in your state of residence, one should not lose their job if it is to be found in their system. As stated in the article,”Unlike alcohol, which is typically metabolized relatively quickly, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC—the psychoactive component in marijuana—can remain detectable in your system for weeks. But that doesn’t mean that you’re still feeling its effects.” This shows that one may have used weed recently , yet they are not currently feeling the side affects it comes with , as if they were to be at work drinking. I feel that employers can only terminate their employees if they are caught using weed on the job, on the clock, or on their premises. Some people use weed for medical purposes, and without it they may preform at a slower pace or not at all, so it will be up to the employer if they would let that specific employee use their weed.

  11. The topic of legal marijuana, either recreationally or medically, is a topic that has been all over every news outlet. With this comes complications with states who have laws that make marijuana legal and with the federal law that makes it illegal. Some companies in these states have experienced issues with it due to federal requirements for the contracts they have with their employees. The recent article by Fast Company covers the complications that can come with states making marijuana legal and how it can affect employees. In states where it is legal, you can still get disciplined or even terminated if you test positive to marijuana. Marijuana, unlike alcohol, stays in your system for an extended period of time after ingesting or smoking, so therefore you can test positive even when you aren’t experiencing the effects anymore. I believe that you should not be terminated or even disciplined at all unless you are under the effects during work time. With blood tests and the easier method in urinalysis, you can pick up signs of marijuana for weeks after last ingestion. While this depends on the amount used by the certain individual, there is no accurate way for blood tests or urinalysis to show when the individual was under the influence. There is a new method of testing for marijuana and that oral fluid testing which can detect it within a few days of use, but even with this there is no way to tell if the individual was under the influence during work time. We can even see some states that have recreationally, and medically legalized marijuana are implementing laws that protect workers from events like this from happening. Arizona and Montana have laws in place currently that protect employees from employers disciplining and/or terminating them in regard to testing positive in a drug test. Colorado, which is the forefront state for marijuana legalization, currently does not have laws in place in such manner, but Colorado state assemblyman, Jovan Melton is attempting to change that. In 2019 he introduced “HB20-1089, the Employee Protection Lawful Off-Duty Activities Bill.” I believe that more states should implement laws like this because if we are being lawful in regard to when we are off-duty, I feel there should be no way that one could have reason to terminate you.

  12. Marijuana legalization has been gaining traction in recent years. With it we have seen the creation of many laws to deal with the various problems related to the consumption of marijuana. It is interesting that many of the states that legalized marijuana lack any statutes protecting the rights of workers from losing their jobs over the consumption of marijuana. With marijuana still being illegal on the federal level, many states that will try to protect their citizens from losing their jobs over the consumption of marijuana will find it difficult to enforce any protections. This issue may become a massive battleground in the debate over marijuana legalization.
    The main issue for state legislatives that create laws protecting the rights of marijuana users and state courts that rule in favor of marijuana users, is that federal laws supersede state laws. This means that no matter what laws the states make or rulings they find, marijuana is an illegal drug as long as the federal government determine it to be. Currently none of the branches of the federal government have enforced the federal position on marijuana on any of the states that have legalized it. However, with Colorado attempting to create laws that would protect marijuana users from job lose, it seems that this issue will have to be addressed on the federal level soon.
    In my opinion it is good that states are protecting their citizens from losing their job over the private consumption of substances that are legal in their states. Companies aren’t allowed to fire employees for the consumption of other products, such as alcohol or tobacco, outside of the workplace, so it is wrong that they should be allowed to do that with marijuana. Companies should only be concerned with how their employees perform in the workplace, not with what they use or do to entertain themselves during their free time. Sadly, if any of the state laws made to protect marijuana users are challenged by a federal court, the laws would be struck down by the courts, for violating federal drug laws.
    The federal laws on marijuana must change for the states to be able to protect the rights of employees without the threat of being overturned. I don’t see the current presidential administration legalizing or at least decriminalizing marijuana on the federal level. It is also unlikely that the current administration will start enforcing the federal laws on the states that have legalized the drug. This is will have to be addressed in this coming decade, from how the debate on marijuana legalization has gone show far it seems that the nation will eventually legalize marijuana.

  13. When I first saw this article, I thought it would be tackling an entirely different angle about recreational marijuana usage. Instead, it alerted me to another potential shortcoming of the legalization of the drug. For background, I believe that recreational marijuana usage should be legalized in the United States. I think it should have the same classification as alcohol, and therefore not be allowed to be consumed in public and must be of a certain age to purchase it. When I began reading this article, I thought it was going to be more focused on the dangers of people utilizing marijuana in the workplace. Instead, it highlighted a topic that our society may not be able to face yet — how can we feasibly tell the timeframe from when the drug was consumed? The other example the article uses is alcohol — it asserts that the drug is out of our systems in a relatively quicker timeframe, making it easier for a company or enforcement to deem when it was consumed. However, the article states the marijuana can take days to weeks to fully leave the system. This renders drug tests less useful when it comes to determining the timeframe of when the marijuana was consumed. To be completely honest, I’m not sure how we can combat this. Obviously, the best solution would be some technology to better determine the period that drugs such as marijuana have been in the system. But since we can’t rely on a technology we don’t currently have, we must find other solutions. If it were up to me, I would place less importance on drug tests when it came to work-related issues in the first place. As it is, we can find all sorts of usage in someones system that may not be related to the investigated issue. Therefore, I would agree with the article in that respect — that companies should be wary of firing employees for appearing to have something in their system.

  14. This article really helped me understand some of the circumstances that can happen to employees that smoke marijuana in legalized states. Even though cannabis is legal in the 33 states that allow legalized medical cannabis, employees can face disciplinary actions disciplinary actions or can be fired from their positions, even if they are smoking recreationally on their own time. It has been proven that medical cannabis and THC can remain in a user’s system for weeks, even if the effects of the drugs are gone. This creates a difficult situation for employees in the states where these drugs are legalized, because even though it is legal to smoke, the company many people work for are still making their employees take the risk of using. In years to come, corporations in the states with legalized drugs will most likely see an increase in positive drug tests, due to the legalization of the drugs. These corporations are going to need to take into play that the federal law still prohibits cannabis use even though it is legalized in certain states across the country.
    Employees need to factor in the use of THC and cannabis as well. Employers are afraid that these drugs will have effects on their employees and their work ethic. Cannabis and THC are depressants, stimulant, and a hallucinogen. Employees aren’t smoking in the workplace if they are using the drugs recreationally. The effects of a depressant can affect brain function, which can result in defectiveness of brain function. A depressant can destroy work ethic, which will depreciate a company’s revenue. If recreational use of using cannabis and THC, companies across the legalized states should making stronger, more efficient regulations and policies for their employees who are open to the use of these two drugs.

  15. Although weed has become medically legalized in 33 states and being recreationally legalized in 11 of those states, there still seems to be a tug of war of acceptance in the real world. In the article, Even When Weed is Legal, Employees Face Risks, written by Gwen Moran, mentions the idea of Weed not being as accepted as a working employee. Personally, how I look at the situation is that as long as you are participating in the consumption of weed legally and are not under the influence on the job there should not be that much of an issue. If you look at both weed and alcohol, they are both legal in most states, but most jobs would not want you drinking Hennessey while clocked in. You would partake in that consumption on your own time, and I would view weed the same way.
    On the other hand, this idea that people who participate in cannabis doing it on their own time may be flawed. For example, in the article, Moran states, “Employers may also be fearful of liability if an employee has an accident or safety issue and then has a positive drug test.” In other words, hypothetically if I am a truck driver and I smoked weed last weekend and I crash the truck the Tuesday after, when I am drug tested, the drug test will come up positive. So, there is not much leeway in proving that I was not under the influence at the time of the crash. Therefore, I can see why jobs today still do drug tests.
    Yet, in that same scenario of me being a truck driver, crashing the truck, then passing the drug test, I could argue that my marijuana use is medical. Many people use medicinal marijuana for treating migraines or even anxiety. This is why the topic of marijuana use is such heated debate as well. Honestly speaking, I see both sides of this argument which are that companies can see users as a liability to the company and that people use it to help serious medical issues that they have. Also, issues like this can be very situational and handled differently relating to the context of the specific problem. Therefore, there may not be a universal solution to the marijuana issues besides federal legalization.

  16. This is tough and it’s a conversation that needs to be talked about because marijuana is becoming more and more present in today’s society. First let’s talk about the drug testing, I understand that blood testing is the most accurate, but it really is very invasive so not many people would agree to go through with it. So urinary testing has been the chosen form of testing for most companies and I think they should just keep it that way because its quick and sometimes effective, it is accurate in regards to testing whether drugs are in your system but no accurate in terms of how long the have been in your system. The article spoke about oral testing which I have never heard about and seems interesting because if it is oral testing then you wont have to go to a private room and there is really no way you can cheat the system with oral testing so we will just have to wait and see what happens with that. When it comes to the consumption of marijuana I don’t think that employees should be fired for the use, well rather what I think is that it depends on your job and whether you are doing it during your work time or on your own time. If you are a DEA officer or a in the law enforcement industry and constantly with confiscated substances, then I don’t think that you should be doing marijuana. It is more lenient on other jobs such as a P.E teacher or a masseuse. It is a good thing that they are looking for ways to protect those who use marijuana on their personal time, because it really is a different story if your doing it on your personal time. What you do on your won time should be totally up to you, if you don’t have a job where you could possibly be called in at any time to work then what you do on your personal time your place of employment should not be regulating you. But you also just need to make sure hat you are not coming to work with marijuana in your system because that just wont help the marijuana case if everyone is showing up intoxicated to work plus its just a bad look for you.

  17. The legalization of marijuana reflects that a process of social acceptance towards it is ongoing, yet not completed. Although limited information based on research has been shared to the general public regarding the effects of marijuana, it, along with our own experience, has shown us that marijuana is not as harmful as it has been depicted by anti drug campaigns and other advocates throughout the years. Presumably being of a low addictive nature, having medicinal properties, and rarely contributing to any casualties or accidents, there seems to be no reason why not to legalize marijuana for either medical or recreational use; this without mentioning the significant tax collection that can be achieved from this industry. Marijuana is still a stigma because it is linked with other crimes that are related to its production and distribution, which in many cases is achieved through illicit activities. I believe, however, that marijuana can be fairly compared to alcohol. Alcohol causes more harm to the US society that marijuana, and although this could be attributed to the high social acceptance and legal status of this drug, if both were to share the same status, marijuana would possibly become as harmful as alcohol, if not less, but only because there will be a larger number of consumers. At the end it all comes down to the responsibility of the consumer. There will always be people to become dependent users of any drug, and there will always be an associated risk regarding the irresponsible use drugs, but this is unavoidable. When it comes to the context of labor, employees under any drug influence can pose a risk, then why is marijuana the spotlight of the debate? Why is it such a big worry. The answer is simple, as said before, it just hasn’t reached a complete status of legal and social acceptance, so it for most employers, a marijuana related incident may be regarded as worst than, say, an alcohol related incident. This means that this has nothing to do with the drug itself, but the status that it currently has in our society. It is just like when alcohol was prohibited in the 20’s under various state laws, it is just a matter of time until we regard marijuana as a drug of common use and becomes completely accepted in our society.

  18. Gwen Moran brings up some solid claims about marijuana in her article about the risk employees face with legalized weed. With 33 states that have legalized medical marijuana only 11 have legalized marijuana for recreational use and not everyone has protected employees from termination if they use off-duty. This creates problems for employees who are routinely drug tested. It makes zero sense to be able to fire somebody for using marijuana when it is legalized. At this day and age I believe less and less people are seeing a problem with marijuana and some companies are already cutting back the drug testing process because it limits their pool of candidates. Whether for recreational use or medical use marijuana is not in my opinion a hazardous drug. If safely used, and not taken at work, I do not believe employers should be able to fire employees for THC showing up in their drug tests. The only time I believe it is appropriate for a company to do so is if an employee shows up under the influence.
    Now I understand why some companies are afraid to trust candidates that have marijuana show up in their system because of the stigma surrounding marijuana but I reiterate it is not a harmful drug. I do think companies should change their policies on marijuana especially if it is legalized in their state. New Jersey is one of the more progressive states. “In April 2019, a New Jersey appellate court found that medical marijuana patients are protected by the state’s Law Against Discrimination as long as they are not under the influence at work.” This is completely reasonable in my opinion compared to a case in Connecticut where an employer rescinded a job offer to a medical marijuana user.
    What I do think is interesting about marijuana is that since it stays in a person’s system for so long, they can be penalized weeks after the fact. Marijuana stays in someone’s system long after the effects are gone. I believe that there needs to be research funded on technology that can detect whether someone is under the influence at that moment. Employees should not be held accountable for something legal they did over the weekend.

  19. As times are changing so is the outlook on certain drugs, and the laws surrounding the use of them. Marujanna was for a long time a scheduled drug alongside heroin. However, as times are evolving it has become a more widely accepted drug for recreational use and 33 states have legalized it medically, with 11 of those states legalizing it recreationally. In my personal opinion I believe that mary jane is not a negative substance to use because it does not alter your reality like consumption of alcohol or other drugs. I also believe that discriminating against members of the workforce that partake in recreational smoking outside of the work day is immoral because it does not affect someone’s ability to do work if they do not smoke during work hours. For a lot of individuals smoking can be very beneficial to individuals lives. Smoking can help people with pain management, depression, relief of anxiety, and to help someone relax after a long day. The issue currently with recreational use of weed being legalised is that the people in the workforce are mistaking it as giving them the go ahead to smoke with no consequences, however certain workplaces still ban the use of weed from their employees. Another issue with this system of punishing smokers is that there is no way to tell if they are high or not from a drug test. THC will show up in a person’s urine or blood weeks to months after they smoked depending on the frequency of the smoker.This is an issue because regular smokers will have a hard time being employed by a drug free association anywhere even months after they quit smoking. Alcohol also is equally if not more damaging to individuals lives and has more than triple the cases of dependency issues as weed and yet it is still normalized and that is an issue. As times are changing so are the people and ideas and it is vital that weed smoking is no longer stigmatized, Another issue with weed is that there are multiple tests for weed the best one being an oral fluid test. Although it has been approved for use and is a lot less cheaper and easier to perform a lot of employers still refuse to adopt this form of drug tests which would only test for THC within the past few days. In history there have been several cases of things being outlawed or seen as negative just because certain people in the society do not agree with the practice. Time and time again it has been proven that something being legal or illegal does not make it moral or immoral and that is something that needs to be taken into consideration when community members are still refusing to drop stigmas on substances with no bad effects.

  20. I think that this article gives a big insight into the areas that not many people are thinking about in regard to legalizing marijuana. Everyone gets excited that marijuana is going to be legalized recreationally soon but isn’t thinking about the effects it will have on their job. I have heard many make jokes about that they are going to be “as high as a kit” for like a year after its legal, and that there is going to be a “permanent smoke cloud in the sky”. Obviously, this is a joke but even if they were to partake in such activities a couple times and then got drug tested at work this is going to be a huge problem for them. That is why I think trying to get it so that we have less invasive testing orally rather than through urine is a lot better. This make it so that it is easier to not be seen in your system and will show that you have not done it recently. By recently, I am referring to the few days that the oral test can cover. The article also lists it as being more cost effective which is always better for the government. On top of this testing more in favor of the employee, I think that they should also have to be given mandatory notice of a drug test so that they can be clean for it if they aren’t serious users. This is in place of whether or not they put into effect not being able to be fired if it is in your system, but you are not impaired now. If you are not able to get fired for there being small traces in your system than I think that there should be no notice mandatory to be given to employees. One thing I did not know before reading this article is that people that use medical marijuana are a protected class. This is necessary in states that are legal because otherwise they would be heavily punished which would be a real shame. These are relatively new things that must be implemented into law as we keep making marijuana legal in states to keep our citizens protected.

  21. Twenty years ago, the thought of legalizing marijuana sounded ludicrous. In 2020, 33 states have legalized medical marijuana and 11 have legalized recreational use. Marijuana is gradually becoming more accepted in today society. I remember being in 8th grade, when Colorado was the only state that legalized weed. Solely based on the fact that marijuana was legal there, Colorado seemed undesirable to me. As a result of the influence of pop culture, its cool to live in a state where weed is legal. You see your favorite rappers and singers smoking on stage, in their music videos, and weed suddenly isn’t that threatening. Even with this trend towards legalization, businesses still drug test their employees.

    I don’t think its a bad thing to want to drug test your employees. Each employee is an investment, and management wants to make sure their getting the most bang for their buck. You don’t want your workers coming to work, to high to function. However, tests for marijuana don’t indicate whether or not your feeling the effects at the moment. Marijuana will stay in your system and show up on a drug test a month after use. I think there should be one initial drug test and no subsequent ones. The first drug test would prove to an employer that, even if you do smoke, you have the discipline to abstain, and show that you take your job seriously. Any mandatory tests after that are pointless in my opinion. If an employee does his job well, why should it matter what he/she does during free time. If someone is showing up to work high, they likely wont be able to meet all their job requirements. Action should only be taken when your outside life starts to impact your job.

    I think the only reason the federal government wont legalize marijuana is because they spent so much money on the “The war on Drugs.” There is so much money to be made in the marijuana business, but to make that money, the government would have to admit they wasted their citizens hard earned tax dollars. We discussed in class how Colorado alone has made over 2 billion dollars since they legalized weed, taxing all purchases. Imagine how much money is left on the table in states that have not legalized weed. People in every state smoke so they have to be getting their weed from somewhere. Its just that the government doesn’t make any money off the local drug dealer. The legalization of marijuana would also make the weed trade safer. You don’t have to worry about buying tainted marijuana from a regulated dispensary.

  22. The fact that an employer can fire an employee for having traces of marijuana in their system even when not using any substances on the job is absolutely ridiculous. This would prevent employees from partaking in activities they might want to do outside of the workplace. This effectively gives employers more power in dictating the lives of the employee outside of the workplace which should not be allowed at all, because the company should not have jurisdiction on what goes on in their employees lives or home. Jovan Melton understood this, as he tried introducing a bill to protect the rights of employees by allowing the rights given to the employees by the state protect them from any mistreatment by employers that work alongside the federal government. While I do think that employees should face consequences if they were to be under the influence at work, there is no reason for the companies to dictate the lives of their employees. Urinalysis tests should not be used either, as the article says that these tests can detect traces of marijuana in urine weeks after usage. An employer should not be allowed to hold the results against an employee as holding that over an employee’s head who might not have smoked or ingested marijuana in weeks is ridiculous. Marijuana as a whole should not be criminalized or illegal. Comparing the statistics we have been able to gather from marijuana usage and comparing it to the statistics from tobacco usage or alcohol ingestion rates, alcohol and tobacco is what should be illegal. There is not a single recorded death stemming from marijuana usage, but there are millions of deaths that can be attributed to alcohol or tobaccos usage, direct and indirectly. These statistics have begun to carry weight in recent years, which is why marijuana is becoming much less taboo and more mainstream among the states. We even have presidential candidates who support the federal legalization of marijuana, and the expungement of all minor marijuana offenses. Marijuana is a heavily used drug among the population that is not going to go away anytime soon, and with how statistically harmless it is compared to other substances, the only right thing to do is legalize it. It also should not be allowed to have companies fire their employees for using marijuana “off the clock”

  23. I had a fairly recent experience, though a parallel one, to what is discussed in this article. Now, it did not involve marijuana (as it is still illegal in the fine Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – though a new bill is being introduced to legalize recreational use), and it did not involve a positive drug test or the potential for a failed one.
    Almost a year ago, I had applied for a medical coding position with a hospital near my home. It is a community hospital (that is, it is not part of one of the gross hospital corporate conglomerates that are beginning to proliferate the healthcare landscape), and is known for its quality of care, its connection to the community, and for how well it treats its employees.
    Without getting into details about the interview and hiring process (both went very well), one thing that the human resources representative told me was quite surprising. It was not only that their entire hospital campus is a “tobacco free” campus – such is the case at many (if not all) hospitals nowadays – but that they actually conduct tests for nicotine. They do this not only for incoming/prospective employees, but also periodically for current employees. A positive (failed) test, according to the documentation I signed, would lead to denial of employment (for a potential new-hire) or termination (for a current employee).
    I would think it goes without saying that this is a very objectionable policy. I do not smoke cigarettes, and while I used to enjoy the occasional cigar, it has been years since I have done so. That being said, these are completely legal vices, and ones that have no chance of altering one’s mental status like, obviously, alcohol.
    I did not take the offer, but not because of this statute. Again, I would have passed, and there would be no risk of any future failures. But what if I was to enjoy a cigar upon the birth of a child? Cuban cigars have recently been legalized in the United States, and are quite well regarded. What if I was on vacation and enjoyed one, only to return to work on Monday to be told that I needed to take a test that would include a nicotine screening? I have a wife, two kids, and a mortgage. The idea of losing my job over something that has never been illegal, and has zero impact on work (especially since the imbibing would have been outside of work) struck me as wildly inappropriate. Smoking a cigarette or cigar on my porch the night before would not impact my work the next day in the slightest – though indulging in too much scotch, to the point where I give myself a hangover the next day, certainly would.
    Now, the leap from testing for nicotine to testing for THC is a fairly large one. I understand that an employee has the responsibility to report to work in the proper mindset, and without any kind of intoxication. This is not only a perfectly reasonable expectation, but one rooted in both physical and legal safety.
    That being said, I still come back to the idea of including the screening of a legal substance in a punitive drug testing situation – especially one with implications as serious as one’s job and career – to be ludicrous. I have not had the need to look into this matter in-depth, but I believe that the police are using THC screening systems that can measure the amount of THC intoxication in the blood, and there is a rubric that would translate that number into determining when it was used. This, in my opinion, should only be utilized to address a situation of someone currently intoxicated, or intoxicated on the job on a regular basis. What legally goes on outside of the workplace is of no concern to my employer, as long as what I am doing does not impact them (obviously there are legal activities that can reflect poorly on them, such as certain types of demonstrating, or social media activities, but that is not germane to this discussion).
    This is something that labor laws (ACLU) should address, and soon. As every non-violent marijuana conviction should be thrown out upon recreational legalization in that state, the idea that you can never imbibe in a legal substance outside of work for risk of losing your job (due to a failed screening) is something that should be abolished, and should have never been.

  24. To assume that the use of cannabis will always be illegal under the federal laws of the United States is a claim in which only people unaware of the profit it generates would make. As of June 2019, states like Colorado where marijuana is state regulated are making roughly 24 million in total state revenue from cannabis each month. It is undoubtedly true that those numbers have only gone up since then. Seeing as that economic profit can be used towards society in things such as education and health care, it is unrealistic to assume that in the near future the federal government will not support it. Gwen Moran’s article, “ Even when weed is legal, employees face risk” illustrates the contradictory laws regarding off duty cannabis use in states where marijuana may or may not be legal. She explains how companies that have “ certain federal requirements” and located in states that have legalized marijuana use, often have compliance issues because of how state and federal laws interact. Personally, I believe if a line of work is federally regulated, then they should follow the federal laws in place across the nation. As with many other circumstances, federal law is always held above state law. While I feel it would be beneficially from an economic standpoint to change the cannabis laws across the nation, as of now, employees in federal regulated jobs should be conscious of the laws. I do not feel that this should apply to the use of cannabis for medical reasons. If an employee has chronic pain or an illness in which they are prescribed marijuana, I feel as if they should not be discriminated against if their drug test results are positive. It would be no different if an employee had back surgery and was prescribed OxyContin for their pain. If said employee is prescribed something for their pain, and do not work under the effects of that drug, they should be allowed to use it as it was advised to them. That being said, being intoxicated while at work should still be unlawful seeing as it effects an employee’s productivity and should be at an employer’s discretion as to how they choose to handle that.

  25. The legalization of marijuana has been one of the most talked about topics in the most recent years all over the US and I find it very difficult to decide whether I agree or disagree with it. While there have been little to no cases reported of deaths due to marijuana, that does not justify its legalization. Whenever you give someone a little, they will always ask for more, very similar to driving on the highway. On the Pennsylvania Turnpike, they raised the speed limit to 70 mph to allow people to move a little faster but people do not obey that speed limit and go way faster. We currently have a problem with teen smoking and vaping such as the e-cigarette, JUUL. Last year, if you went to a college party, 75% of the people attending would have a JUUL in their hand or ask someone if they can “take a hit of their JUUL.” No, marijuana is not an e-cigarette, but I am a firm believer that inhaling anything in your lungs is not good for you.

    I think that even if marijuana becomes legal, companies should still have the choice to not allow people to ingest this drug. Another problem I see with the legalization of marijuana is people always wanting to be “high” which means being under the influence of marijuana. I know of people that attend school or work high and have become so equipped to it that they never want to attend either sober. Not everyone reacts the same to marijuana. People that have dangerous jobs such as pilots or truck drivers can hurt many people if they make one incorrect move or make one bad decision. I am not saying that everyone who smokes will be going to work under the influence, but it could be possible if companies allow marijuana use. Almost everyone uses some sort of transportation daily and to really make people understand my argument, imagine if your child’s bus driver was high. Would that change your mind about allowing them to take the bus home from school?

  26. Companies that operate in states where marijuana is legalized, the issue of drug testing and the results bring up some good arguments. Employees can be fired over failing a drug test. However in states of legalization, the idea of firing employees over failed drug tests becomes an issue. Obviously showing up to work under the influence of marijuana is frowned upon, however in states of legalization can a company fire an employee solely for that reason? In my opinion, I feel a company is unable to fire an employee solely for failing a drug test. However signs of continuous use of marijuana while on the job is a cause for concern.
    States where marijuana is legal, should offer a program that informs employers and employees about the effects of marijuana on work performance. Using marijuana consistently will cause employees to perform underpar and could affect a company’s future in the long run. I can understand employers firing employees for failing a drug test as long as work performance was affected by the use of drugs. The THC content remains in your system for weeks which with continuous usage will continue to slow a person’s mind and body. Employers need to be on the lookout for not only continuous marijuana use but more about a person’s job performance. Employees who show up stoned constantly put others at risk especially in industries such as manufacturing and business offices. Clients are less likely to rely on an accountant who is stoned to complete their taxes than an accountant who has smoked once a week. Working in factories while under the influence of marijuana could affect other employees. A worker might be injured due to having to complete a job by his/her self because another employee was stoned on the job. Employees need to be aware that legalizing marijuana does not mean one can smoke whenever he or she wants. At the end of the day, companies just want to continue operating and need employees willing to put in the work whether they used recreational marijuana the night before or not.

  27. I agree with most comments here that the subject of marijuana legalization is complicated. I am also pro-legalization because I also believe the pros outweigh the cons. However, I think there needs to be a way to test employees to know if they are intoxicated on-duty. I do not think anyone should be intoxicated whether it be marijuana or alcohol during their hours of work. I wonder if this newly popular oral fluid method could be the solution. However, if an oral fluid test can tell if you smoked or ingested marijuana up to 12-24 hours before the time of the test, then I do not think this method would work since it would be unclear if the individual smoked before, during, or after work.
    It is a hard scenario to be in if a state has marijuana legalized but still against federal law. For companies that abide by state law and are in a legal state, it is much easier to maneuver through the legal aspects since usage is allowed. However, the point brought up with trucking companies having to abide by Department of Transportation regulations can create a difficult situation since these companies could now risk the chance of having a high driver get into an accident. With this possible scenario can come legal issues on the for the companies and a struggle for supervisors to ensure their staff is not driving under some sort of influence. Then, if the bill is passed to not allow companies in legalized states to fire employees because they have marijuana in their system there will be more chaos. This won’t allow these companies to be taken seriously by their staff that if they do drive with marijuana in their system, they will still get away with it and have no repercussions.
    Furthermore, I do also think that the use of marijuana should be restricted to age and location. Like with alcohol, you cannot operate a vehicle while under the influence. I do still think that it should be legalized since its pros outweigh the cons and is arguably less “dangerous” than alcohol. Since it is not legal across the states yet it is unsure whether or not marijuna has detrimental long-term effects after heavy usage like alcohol does. One can only assume lung problems could arise from this, however, that does not always stop people.
    As always, I am interested in seeing where the path of marijuana legalization leads. Especially since the recreational legalization has now migrated from the west coast states to some of the east coast with Massachusetts hopping on the bandwagon and the most recent participant, New Hampshire has joined as well.

  28. Legalization of marijuana began in 1996 when California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana while recreational legalization began in 2012 when Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana. In the past four decades, many states have decriminalized marijuana, most states have legalized medical use while few have legalized recreational use yet federal law still says it’s illegal to use and even possess marijuana. In time, I believe recreational legalization in all fifty states is imminent as society opens up with marijuana more and more due to an increasing rise in marijuana use around the nation.
    It is not unusual for employers to fire you or write you up if your consuming marijuana at work at even at home whether marijuana is illegal or legal in the state you were caught in. I believe this is due to society (and therefore the person) being not used to marijuana and is still bias and therefore against it. I agree that employees should be penalized if they are high at work only if it’s against company codes and rules otherwise I am against penalizing employees if they are just getting high at home minding their own business.
    Marijuana is not as bad as everyone thinks; If you compare marijuana with alcohol, alcohol has killed more people through drunk driving than it has with marijuana. Not only that, but alcohol can make people throw up & urinate everywhere as well as being aggressive while marijuana makes people crave food, sleep and laugh yet marijuana is considered illegal under federal law while alcohol is not. Marijuana is also known to help with PTSD, anxiety, helps with epilepsy in patients and helps stop the spread of cancer. With that being said, I just think it doesn’t make any sense for a drug to be illegal yet being less dangerous and proven to be more beneficial than alcohol, a substance that is commonly known for being abused by many and the deaths that are attributed to it.

  29. This article has me stuck between agreeing and disagreeing with allowing employees to partake in recreational cannabis. I understand that the employees are wishing to partake in this during their free time so they wish to not be tested from their employers, but allowing this could cause many issues. Not everyone will decide to just smoke or ingest marijuana after getting off work, some may decide to do it before coming into work or even on their breaks if the laws were changed. If employers were not able to test their employees they would not be able to hold them against their actions and fire them. Employers can test their employees now, but with the way that marijuana works, they would not be able to tell how much or when the employee smoked or ingested it. This is where it comes into a harder decision of whether or not to still test the employees. I believe that if an employer suspects that an employee is under the influence, they should be tested and fired. A lot of jobs require you to be drug free due to the labor that is put into the job. You cannot have an employee dealing with dangerous equipment under the influence of anything for safety reasons, you do not know what could possibly happen under those circumstances. I think that if they came up with a test that could detect the time that the employee dealt with the drug then maybe they should consider allowing them to do it on their free time and not drug test as often, but it may cause problems or injuries. Although marijuana is not as dangerous as alcohol, it still impairs your vision, brain, and actions so you cannot guarantee what will happen to these workplaces. As marijuana is being legalized, I think that certain rules or laws should be kept in place as it keeps people safe and organized. The article mentioned that a lot of companies are starting to not test for it anymore in order to expand their workforce. I feel as though you have to make changes in your life to get a job whether that is not smoking anymore or simply changing the way you speak, so I do not agree with this reasoning behind not testing.

  30. What an eye-opening article. I never really thought about the effect legalizing weed on businesses, but it makes perfect sense. The question is, do employers have a right to dictate what employees do when they are not on the clock? If an employee recreationally uses marijuana legally on a Friday night and then goes to work Monday where they fail a drug test due to the test sensitivity of THC, what will the outcome be? I agree that medical marijuana should be allowed. I also agree it should be allowed recreational with some restrictions. I believe that the laws must specifically tackle this subject and educate American citizens. The oral fluid test should also be mandated for use among all businesses if it in fact only measures usage in a small time period.
    There is a lot of misinformation and stigma around marijuana use. As someone who has a retired police officer for a father who is staunchly against marijuana use and as someone who has friends who speak on the positive effects of it, I find myself in a similar conflicted situation. I do not know the benefits or if there are any at all for that matter. I think it is hard to change the mindset of a whole country who has been raised under the D.A.R.E program and who were taught drugs were bad, no matter what kind. To now in a span of two decades to go from all drugs are bad to stating all drugs are bad except marijuana is an uphill battle. I think the pro-legalization population can win this debate if they educate and pay for science-based research. Yes, it has been proven that states that legalized marijuana have seen an uptick in their economy. Yes, it has been proven that marijuana-based pain management can help patients in certain situations. But I have not heard enough about the recreational use or the cons to using it.
    It is interesting to me that companies are now thinking of not testing for marijuana use at all. Is this a wise move considering we were once taught that marijuana was the gateway drug? Has this research proven to be outdated and incorrect? I may be in the minority in my lack of knowledge regarding this subject, but my belief is education on the subject is pivotal. I can only imagine the HR conversations that businesses are needing to have due to legalization. But I would first assume that the company would want their employees to have the same values as theirs. But can they legally enforce this? For example, when I was growing up, Abercrombie and Fitch was a popular brand. They were known for hiring attractive and young high school students. Among one of the rules of working there was employees could not wear black or wear black nail polish. This was allowed due to the company stating it was part of their company brand. A&F was later sued on multiple occasions due to lack of diversity, etc. Can companies now state the use of marijuana is controversial and against their brand? Or can the United States legal system provide protections that would benefit both employees and employers before legalization is at a national level.

  31. With the legalization of marijuana being a major question for all people in power, whether it be in the state or on a federal level. I am a supporter of legalizing weed in all areas, whether it be medicinal or recreational. Before I even thought of posting a reply on this post, I tried to think what would be a valid reason for why states or even the federal government would legalize weed. One major reason that definitely seems important to all levels of government is tax revenue. Legalizing weed makes it taxable, due to it now being in sold in dispensaries. Colorado, for example, saw $247 million in tax revenue just from legalizing weed. This tax revenue could be used for education, public parks, whatever the government feels the money should go to.

    This is just one of the reasons why it can be seen as a good thing to legalize marijuana. Now onto the topic of this blog and covering the complex situation that comes about when legalizing weed. As mentioned in the post, a state can legalize weed for recreational, and medicinal use, but when it comes to companies who respond to Federal Laws and restrictions, there comes a complex situation with it. Companies have to follow Federal regulations to stay in business and apart of that rule following comes drug tests. Just because a drug is legal at a state level doesn’t mean a company can completely just ignore when someone fails a drug test due to marijuana. I think there needs to be some sort of way for employees to be able to use marijuana within their respective state, if legal. The federal government is definitely split on the idea of legalizing weed and it could come in the next few years but it will take work on both sides to come to an agreement. For now, I believe there needs to be some sort of leeway afforded to workers who use marijuana.

  32. Christopher Clark
    Blog Comment

    Over the past 10 years, the tolerance and legalization of marijuana has been more prominent in the United States. With more states legalizing the drug recreationally as well as for medicinal purposes. Of course, along with legalization comes regulation. This is where issues in the job market start to present themselves. It is nationally, almost globally respected that sobriety in the workplace is essential for the expected productivity and standards of an occupation. But sobriety is now a hazey term.

    Marijuana, unlike alcohol, remains in the body weeks after its initial dosage, even after the effects have worn off after a few hours. This causes complications when administering drug tests at the workplace. Imagine using your prescribed medication safely and legally in your own household, just to be fired the next day when marijuana appears positive on the drug test as you’re stone cold sober. This is essentially what happened to a Dish Network employee in 2013. According to the author, “2013 Colorado Supreme Court ruling upheld the right of Dish Network to fire an employee for using medical marijuana, court cases in other states have had different outcomes.” This occurrence is more frequent than one would imagine. Regarding the nation-wide increase of marijuana usage, more hiring complications arise due to companies resistance to social adaptation. After this issue attracted more state and federal attention, such as the introduction of the, “HB20-1089, the Employee Protection Lawful Off-Duty Activities bill, which prohibits an employer from terminating an employee for the employee’s lawful off-duty activities that are lawful under state law even if those activities are not lawful under federal law.” more companies have been flexible with their hiring procedures.

    This is partially thanks to the oral testing method for marijuana, which detects the drug in a much shorter duration of the last day or few hours. This has not necessarily gone mainstream in terms of government or occupational testing but is showing increased usage across businesses. This is important and intelligent for business to do because of the repercussions associated with lawsuits from their wrongfully accused employees. In my opinion it is important for companies and the world as a whole, to adjust to modern trends quickly and efficiently. The adaptation to society and the population as a whole is a great contributor to their success.

  33. Weed has been a very controversial topic for years because they always compare it to how cigarettes are legal but have many cases where people have died or developed lung cancer from them. People have also found that weed helps with the symptoms of certain illnesses. For years people have felt weed is a natural thing that should not be illegal and available for free use. Another issue that has risen from weed being illegal is the caused for so many people especially minorities being incarcerated. Fast forward today we have so many states that have legalized it for recreational use or medical use. Although it is legal at the state level it is still not become legal at the federal level. Now we face the issue of should employers still hold employees accountable if they partake in the activities while off duty.
    I think that weed is working towards being legal at the state and federal level. With any law, it takes a while for that to happen. We are definitely going to eventually see weed as a legal substance that is sold in stores everywhere. Weed is something that is used very openly now. I know many people who like to use the substance to just relax and prefer it over alcohol. When you get tested for weed usually you will do a urine test. If employers are going to test employees for weed and disqualify someone because of a positive test it will start minimizing the job pool greatly. The problem with urine testing is it will detect weed in your system from weeks ago. If you’re not high anymore I don’t understand why if you do partake in the activities it is effecting your job at all. If you show up to work high, then I would say that the employers have every right to deal with you accordingly.
    I do think that weed should be looked at like alcohol, if you show up to work drunk then you probably will be fired or sent home at least for the day. I think weed should be treated the same way. If you want to go home to relax and for you, that’s smoking weed, then I don’t see the problem in it. In older generations, because it was illegal many people associated with smoking weed with being a bad person, lazy, or criminal. Now that smoking weed is pretty popular and open, I think employers need to move with the times as well. You can test weed in another way with a mouth swab that will only detect it if it has been used in the last few days. I do think while it is still illegal at the federal level is a better option to use than a urine test. Eventually, I think employers will not be able to get rid of or disqualify someone based on their weed usage.

  34. The article above speaks about marijuana use in the workplace and how the laws are different in the federal and state level. Federally, it is illegal, while some states legalized it for medical and recreational use. Currently, marijuana is a very popular subject on whether it should be federally legal or not. I believe there is more help than there is harm to the legalization of it. The legalization could lead to more jobs, which helps support the economy and could lead to a better healthcare system, marijuana is a cheaper and safer drug than many prescription drugs in circulation. It will also lead to a lower crime rate nation wide and allow police officers to put their time towards harsher crimes.

    I am fully aware that marijuana is a drug that could be abused, but it is not addicting like alcohol and opioids. Alcoholism and the addiction of opioids is a major problem in America. The excess drinking of alcohol (binge drinking) is associated with unintentional injuries such as car crashes, falls, burns, and alcohol poisoning. Violence including homicide, suicide, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault. Sexually transmitted diseases. Unintended pregnancy and poor pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage and stillbirth. Fetal alcohol syndrome disorder. Sudden infant death syndrome. Chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and liver disease. Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. Memory and learning problems. Alcohol use disorders. One in six adults binge drink monthly, that’s 1/6th of the population being exposed to these serious concerns. Yet, we over look it since it is a social norm.
    The facts listed about binge drinking were from the CDC and could be found at this link.

    Now, let us look at opioids, on average of 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. This statistic is for both heroin and prescription use. Due to opioids being such an addictive drug, anyone could be affected by it. I am currently 22 years old and already know 3 individuals who have died from opioid overdoes. If the nation does not put more effort into fighting opioid usage, we can see friends and family suffer terribly.
    The fact listed about opioid usage were from the CDC and could be found at this link.

  35. Marijuana will seemingly be a topic of controversy for at least the next ten to fifteen years. This article from Gwen Moran of Fast Company entails the problems employers are facing as more and more states begin to legalize recreational marijuana. Federal law prohibits marijuana use, but 11 states don’t. Employers in these states, especially ones with federal contracts, are put in tough positions when trying to abide by regulations. Moran uses the example of a truck driver working for a company with federal contract requirements. His state may allow marijuana use, but his employer’s contract doesn’t. These issues are a new concept for a lot of employers and they’re working with lawyers and politicians to find middle ground.

    Moran mentions that the method of drug testing is a key problem in this situation. The most common form of drug test is a urine sample. The problem is that urinalysis can detect marijuana in your system weeks after. An employee could use over a vacation, come back to work for a week and be sober, then get tested and fail. Clearly, the employee wasn’t using on the job and also was no longer feeling the effects of marijuana. Most people who have smoked or been around marijuana know this is the case, marijuana’s effects last less than alcohol, for example. Moran also mentions that the government failing to implement an alternative to urine sample tests is the reason for its unpopularity. Now that more and more people are pushing for it, oral tests are close to becoming the norm. Oral tests pick up marijuana in the system from only a few days prior, giving a more relevant assessment of an employee’s use.

    Moran notes that there is a movement in Colorado to enact a bill that prohibits employers from firing employees for lawful, off-duty activities, even if they contradict federal law. It will be interesting to see how they move on with this and if they are aware of the Supremacy Clause, which gives any federal law the power to override a state law. It seems that the only way to really make a difference is to legalize at the federal level. Until then, employers in some states have a complex issue to deal with.

  36. As more states continue to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, it is likely that a federal legalization of cannabis use is on the horizon. However, its future relationship with employees and businesses is uncertain. As the article mentioned, companies fear an increase in accidents on the job or other mistakes that will certainly correspond with marijuana consumption. Being that companies largely operate in the private sector; they will of course be entirely within their right to not tolerate the use of cannabis or other intoxicants by their employees in the workplace. However, they cannot regulate the usage of marijuana amongst their employees in a recreation or medical capacity. Nonetheless, I believe that members of the work force will begin to use marijuana responsibly if they are not doing so already. If binge drinking on a weeknight damages an individual’s performance in work the next morning, then it behooves them to limit their drinking to the weekend, or at least restrain the quantity of alcohol they imbibe. Likewise, such trends are certainly to be expected upon the legalization of marijuana, even if it initially affects the abilities of both employees and businesses for some time. I expect that the legalization of cannabis will compel many adults to “experiment.” People who already use marijuana may find new freedom with the ability to enjoy the substance and may smoke more frequently. Therefore, a general increase in cannabis consumption is to be expect if it is to be legalized. Again, if such things become a hinderance to the productivity of companies and employees, I believe that such a phenomenon will be a temporary event, and the business world will likely correct itself as they familiarize themselves with marijuana. In conclusion, the legalization of marijuana will not cause and irreparable, long-term damages to businesses, nor will an incurable harm occur to the people in general.

  37. Cannabis is a widely used drug worldwide. While cannabis is a “drug”, as it alters your state of mind and physical ability, it is by far the least intoxicating, and safest “drug” compared with others like alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Cannabis was heavily scrutinized by lawmakers and made a schedule I drug along with heroin, LSD, and peyote. The term “marijuana” in itself has racist origins, as does the criminalization of cannabis, which was headed by an outspoken racist. In his effort to racialize cannabis use, he once said in a statement “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.” The United States has come a long way since criminalizing cannabis back in the early 20th century. As citizens and lawmakers begin to understand how cannabis actually effects the mind and body, and its numerous medical uses, progress is being made to undue the damage these arbitrary laws done to millions of Americans. With legalization, comes new obstacles, such as how to control it. In 2019, approximately 127 million Americans have used cannabis in their life. There is overwhelming support for its legalization, and the effects of it are no longer such a mystery. The stigma surrounding cannabis is slowly eroding, but still poses threats to job security and education opportunity. Companies and schools certainly have the right to enforce their own policies, but with things such as drugs, it seems to be unfair to disqualify, fire, or expel someone for something done on their own time, and has no effect on their work or company/school’s integrity. It is understandable to drug test someone like a truck driver, machine operator, etc. However, as mentioned in the article, cannabis stays in the system for weeks, even months, so even if you did not smoke in the past two weeks you would still fail. Then on the other hand, you could slam a case of beer in your truck and by the time your shift is over your BAC is back to zero. There is certainly still a mostly legal stigma surrounding cannabis, hopefully lawmakers will continue listening to the American people. Cannabis, to be classified as more dangerous and addictive than cocaine and methamphetamine, is blatantly out of touch with actual research and widespread knowledge. There has never been a death caused by a cannabis overdose, and yet pharmaceutical companies are the ones permitted to rake in billions of dollars selling overprescribed opioids to at risk individuals.

  38. Over the past few years, cannabis use has sharply risen across the United States, alongside the acceptance of recreational cannabis use. Despite this, cannabis is still not legal at the federal level while it is legalized for both medical and recreational uses at the state level in various states. Given this context, employers are trying to balance letting employees partake in cannabis under the law and issuing authority whenever employees misuse the drug during work hours. As the Fast Company article that was written by Gwen Moran, “Even when weed is legal, employees face risks,” explains, companies with federal contracts have to be careful about employee cannabis usage. Even when smoking marijuana on one’s own time in a state legalizing recreational marijuana usage, employees can still get fired from jobs with federal contracts if they test positive on a drug test. This part is complicated further due to the psychoactive component of marijuana, THC, remaining in the body weeks after consumption, unlike alcohol which metabolizes quicker.

    While I personally do not partake in the smoking of marijuana, I recognize the people should have the freedom to enjoy and partake in the substance in a responsible and safe manner. For a drug that has repeatedly been proven to be less harmful than substances like tobacco and alcohol, I am continually disappointed by the resistance to legalizing marijuana on a federal level. I am hopeful that companies realize how archaic the stigma around recreation marijuana use is and grow to become more accepting of employees partaking in it in their own free time without fear of termination. Marijuana should be enjoyed like alcohol and tobacco, in moderation, and fully legalized.

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