A 2018 survey of employers within the U.S. found that 5% are considering removing marijuana from their workplace drug testing panel in the upcoming year. With all the changing laws, at a first glance removing marijuana may seem like a good idea—but is it really?
What Are The Pros For Removing Marijuana From My Testing Panel?
The biggest advantage to removing marijuana from your testing panel is the ability to hire more employees. Removing marijuana from your panel will expand your hiring pool, allowing you to hire those who use marijuana either recreationally or medicinally.
I Thought I Had To Remove Marijuana From My Testing Panel?
This is a hot topic of conversation as many states have altered their specific state laws regarding cannabis over the past few years. Under federal law, marijuana is technically still classified as an illegal and Schedule I substance. And while some state laws have changed regarding whether or not marijuana can be used medicinally or recreationally, it’s important to note that rules governing marijuana and the workplace have not changed in most states. However, some states have put more defined rules into place regarding testing for marijuana. Please make sure you are familiar with your specific state laws regarding employment drug testing!
But as an employer, you can most likely exercise your right to a drug-free workplace.
Talk with your legal team or look more deeply into your state laws and employer guidelines to know what specific restrictions may apply to you and your company.
How Do I Know If I Should Remove Marijuana From My Testing Panel?
This decision is ultimately up to each employer based on what they think would be best for their company (or what specific laws they need to follow). Different factors to consider may include: your company location, the type of work your employees will be performing (safety sensitive or federally mandated positions require a drug-free workplace), and the attitude you wish to establish within your company concerning drug use.
I Need To Start A Drug Testing Program, How Do I Do That?
Great! Having a drug testing program in place is extremely beneficial to any company. It can help protect you from liability issues and ensure a safe work environment. If you’re choosing to not test for marijuana, there is a long list of other drugs and substances that can still be tested for. There are two main things you need to do to establish a drug testing program:
- One is creating a written policy that clearly outlines your program and expectations. Doing this will allow you to hold employees accountable to your policy. We suggest consulting your legal team as to what to include in your specific policy, but some things to consider include: employer expectations regarding drug use, training for supervisors on signs and symptoms of drug abuse, outlining roles, providing education for employees on the dangers of drug use, and establishing an Employee Assistance Program that provides counseling or referrals for employees who struggle with drug problems.
- The second thing you need to do is connect with a Third Party Administrator (TPA) who can help you manage and administer your drug tests—whether your program includes pre-employment, random, or reasonable suspicion drug testing. As a comprehensive screening provider, Blueline Services also acts as a TPA and we can help you establish your testing program. Give us a call at the number listed above or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the services we offer.