Legalized Marijuana and the Workplace

How are companies coping with the new trend toward legalizing marijuana in many states? How should they change their drug policies? These are the questions asked in a new white paper from EmployeeScreenIQ, a company that provides employment screening for a range of companies.

As the company points out, 23 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana use in some form. That number will surely grow in the years ahead; this is truly a national trend.

In its Sixth Annual Survey of U.S. Employers, EmployeeScreenIQ found that a slight majority of employers plan to keep their policies if pot becomes legal in their states.

However, 12% of the more than 500 employers surveyed said they would ignore positive tests for marijuana; 2% said they would even discontinue their drug testing programs.

A copy of the company’s white paper can be downloaded here (name, email required).

This is an interesting topic since it examines the potential clash of two growing trends in America: the rise in drug screening in the workplace and the legalization of marijuana.

It’s an especially interesting topic since it touches on the larger issue of privacy in the workplace. If employers continue to test employees for marijuana use – and penalize them for positive test results – might we not see legal challenges from employees who were punished or fired for doing something in their off-hours that has become perfectly legal?

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