As cannabis continues to become more widely accepted in the United States, more and more businesses are beginning to drop cannabis from their drug-test policies. The spreading legalization of cannabis, in addition to a low unemployment rate, have led to many businesses to simply no longer test for cannabis.
Removing cannabis from drug tests would mark the first big change in workplace drug policies since the late 1980s, when employers began regularly drug-testing applicants in response to a federal law that required government contractors maintain drug-free workplaces. Research has shown that nationwide, 57 percent of companies conduct drug tests and will most likely continue to do so.
Most businesses that have dropped cannabis tests still screen for harder drugs like cocaine and opiates, but companies are thinking realistically about the types of jobs that should require tests for cannabis. Restaurant workers and hotel workers tend to consume cannabis the most, and it is likely those jobs will turn a blind eye to cannabis drug testing. Federally regulated businesses will likely still legally require a drug test, and it would be in the best interest of employers of jobs that raise safety concerns to require cannabis tests.
Maine has already passed a law that bans drug testing for cannabis in the workplace and discrimination against cannabis consumption during an employee’s off-hours. In about 12 states, medical cannabis consumers are protected to an extent from employment discrimination. Until last year, courts let employers handle their hiring process in regard to cannabis consumers, as the plant is still federally illegal. But three court cases in the past year have resulted in courts siding with employees and forcing companies to reinstate employees that were fired for testing positive while in possession of a medical cannabis recommendation.