By Brad G.
In late November 2018, Massachusetts entered the fray to make both medicinal and recreational use of marijuana legal for adults.
With several more states likely to follow, Massachusetts adds their name to the ever-growing list of states to attempt the legalization of marijuana. With several states already successfully legalizing the use of marijuana, one aspect of the law seems to go overlooked: How will employers deal with a growing number of employees using marijuana? To answer this, we will examine how employers protect themselves and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions before legally using marijuana.
As it stands, employers reserve the right to not only perform drug screenings on potential employees, they may also perform random drug screenings on current employees as well. The method of testing is at the employer’s discretion, as is the testing threshold limit. The most common method of testing is for THC-COOH in a urine sample. However, THC metabolites are also found in blood, sweat, hair, and saliva.
Why it is unfair to the employee:
Testing positive for THC does not prove impairment. When the sample is collected, it is being tested for inactive metabolites, which does not determine if an employee was under the influence of marijuana during the test, or at the time of an incident. Since, depending on body composition and other factors, metabolites can stay in your system ranging from several weeks up to several months; this method is also not a clear indicator of the level with which cannabis was used. This adds a layer of difficulty for anyone, even light users, who need to pass a drug test to gain employment.
Why employers administer drug screenings anyway:
Employers reserve the right to screen for drug use in order to limit their own liability. If an accident were to occur on the job and they do not perform a drug screening, the responsibility falls directly onto the company. With a positive result on a drug screening, the liability for the occurrence can be shifted to the employee, even if you were not under the influence of cannabis at the time.
What you can do to protect yourself:
Know the testing guidelines of the employer prior to the drug screening. It will also be helpful to know how long it takes you, personally, to pass a drug test given your specific set of circumstances. If you need help or are in a pinch, contact Green Gone Detox.