Employers Surrendering on Pot Tests for Jobs

More employers scrapping the practice amid fast-changing laws
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2023 4:00 PM CDT
A Marijuana Test for Work Is Fast Becoming a Relic
Marijuana plants are shown at a California Street Cannabis Company location in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

It's a brave new world in regard to marijuana use in the US, and getting braver all the time. In May, Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize recreational use of the drug, notes Reuters, and a number of outlets have been cataloguing the resulting nationwide changes:

  • Workplace: Now that weed is OK for consumption in so many places, the Washington Post reports that more employers are doing away with testing, including in pre-hiring checks. The Post notes that all but three states (Kansas, Nebraska, and Idaho) have legalized marijuana use to some extent, vastly complicating the idea of testing for THC, the drug's active ingredient. That's especially true for companies whose operations span multiple states. In some places, lawmakers are even adding protections for off-the-work-clock usage. Attorneys who specialize in employment-related issues say employers who opt to maintain stricter requirements will need to reckon with legal weed sooner or later.

  • The military: The Hill reports that GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz is backing a change to the National Defense Authorization Act that would end marijuana testing of service members when they enlist. "I do not believe that prior use of cannabis should exclude Americans from enlisting in the armed forces," he says. "We should embrace them for stepping up to serve our country."
  • College sports: Even college sports are considering more relaxed requirements for athletes, with NPR reporting in June that the NCAA was considering taking marijuana off its list of banned drugs.
  • States: Government entities aren't immune to steadily relaxing attitudes toward cannabis. Non-profit news organization Bridge Michigan reports that state will cease drug testing for most state jobs on Oct. 1, 2023. Nevada and Washington have similar measures in place.
(More cannabis stories.)

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