Increasing positive marijuana tests among U.S. workers

The· Coronavirus pandemic Last year, it shook US employment, but one trend continued. That is, the proportion of workers who test positive for marijuana is increasing.

The percentage of US workers tested positive for urinary marijuana increased in 2020, but last year the overall share of positive drug tests peaked.

Quest diagnosis Co., Ltd.

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About 2.7% of the approximately 7 million drug tests conducted on behalf of one of the largest drug testing laboratories in the United States have returned positive for marijuana. It increased from 2.5% in 2019 to 2% in 2016.

Overall, the percentage of American workers who tested positive for drugs was 4.4%, much the same as in 2019, when there was a positive rate for urine-based drug tests. Reach the highest level in 16 years..Federal and state data Drug overdose and abuse Ascended during the pandemic, Quest officials say it wasn’t recorded in the data, as many overdose victims were likely not tested for drugs at work last year.

Drug tests are often given to new hire candidates as part of a random testing program or after an accident or suspected drug use.

Positive marijuana tests rose among American workers Because more states allow marijuana For medical and entertainment in recent years. According to the National Assembly of State Parliamentarians, 17 states have passed legalization measures. This has recently become New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Arizona.

In the process, due to changes in legal background and cultural attitudes, some employers stopped testing it and others stopped incorporating it into their hiring decisions. While some companies say test policies promote accountability, many are more tolerant of marijuana than other drugs.

“There wasn’t much change in the overall test rate, but it did change to the extent that marijuana was included in the test panel,” said Dr. Barry Sample, Quest’s Senior Director of Science and Technology. I will. ..

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Some employers have stopped testing marijuana to make it easier to hire workers. The Hospitality Ventures Management Group, which operates Marriott and Hilton brand hotels primarily in 17 states, was used to test job seekers seeking salary positions on several drug standard panels. The company’s chief human resources officer, Susan M. Sanders, said she opened a Colorado property in 2015 while suspending national marijuana screening, making her a more competitive employer. It was.

“It was part of the practical nature of wanting to be an attractive employer in the downtown Denver market,” she said. Ideally, marijuana is “a part of what people do when they’re not working and isn’t carried over to work.” Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.

According to Quest data, 6.3% of workers in the hospitality and restaurant industries who were tested for drugs last year were positive for marijuana. This is one of the highest percentages in any industry.

Changes in legal background and cultural attitudes have led some employers to stop testing marijuana.


Eddie Moore / Zuma Press

Today, the hospitality sector is out of the pandemic and many restaurants and bars are struggling. To fill the surge in the open positionMatthew Rodgers, CEO of Restaurant Zone LLC, a company that helps restaurants find staff, says more people are relaxing drug testing requirements.

“Postcovid, the supply of candidates in the market is really stressed,” he said. He added that some candidates have moved away from job opportunities after being told that future employers need drug tests.

“Drug tests do not compromise the ability to find good people.”

— The taste of Edd Hendee, co-owner of the Texas restaurant

Others have lost their jobs due to a positive test. 24-year-old Kelly Ward said he is using marijuana for recreational purposes at his home in Nevada, which legalized its use for recreational purposes in 2017. Recently, I was offered a job as a barista and bartender at a living support facility on the Utah border. She said the offer was canceled after she failed the marijuana test.

Some business owners say they continue to test for marijuana and other drugs to discourage lies and theft by having a testing policy and to promote workplace safety. Edd Hendee, co-owner of the Taste of Texas restaurant in Houston, said:

Companies in the safety-conscious industry are less flexible because field testing is required by law. In the truck industry, a federal database launched last year also makes it difficult for truck drivers, who are subject to drug and alcohol testing mandated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, to hide past positive tests from future employers. ..

US cannabis companies lack access to banks and other financial services because drugs are illegal by the federal government. It can change through new legislation or thanks to broader legalization efforts backed by a democratically controlled Senate.Photo Illustration: Laura Kammerman

AveryVise, a truck analyst at FTR Transportation Intelligence, said the new database has contributed significantly to the tight recruitment, while it could benefit safety. Nearly 70,000 truck drivers have been added to the database for positive testing since launch, according to Vise, and the majority of those drivers have not completed the steps necessary to get back to work. ..

Just as the pandemic burden on the logistics network has contributed to the tight labor market in this sector, tighter scrutiny of truck drivers’ drug and alcohol use is hitting truck companies, he said. Stated.

Write to Matt Grossman

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Increasing positive marijuana tests among U.S. workers

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