As we have seen many states follow in Nevada’s footsteps in legalizing marijuana, Nevada is now the first state in the country to ban employers from testing for marijuana. If an employee tests positive for marijuana in the state of Nevada, the employer can’t do anything about it. We are now at a total of 11 states, Illinois being the most recent state to legalize marijuana. Marijuana is still currently classified as a Schedule I substance at the federal level.
There are limitations to Nevada’s law, however. Per CBS News, those with public safety jobs like firefighters and emergency medical workers, as well as those who operate vehicles, are exempt from the law, which takes effect next year.
“As our legal cannabis industry continues to flourish, it’s important to ensure that the door of economic opportunity remains open for all Nevadans. That’s why I was proud to sign AB132 into law, which contains common-sense exceptions for public safety and transportation professionals,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said when signing the law.
Also, a similar law was passed by the New York City Council this spring. The state of Maine prohibits employers, schools and landlords from discriminating against those who use marijuana, but there’s no drug testing law. We are starting to see many employers nationwide requesting for drug tests that exclude THC. In a competitive labor market, employers are looking to remove marijuana from pre-employment drug screening policy’s to widen candidate pools. Major company such as, Citigroup is considering changing its screening policy for marijuana, per Business Insider.
According to Quest Diagnostics, marijuana is most often found during pre-employment screenings, court ordered, probation etc. About 2.8 percent of urine tests used by workplaces detected the presence of marijuana, reports USA Today. Quest Diagnostics also has found marijuana use since 2014 is up 16 percent among U.S. workers, and up 24 percent among those in safety-sensitive jobs like pilots or train operators, reports Business Insider.
Experts have said that there is not much of a connection between pre-employment drug testing and improved employee performance, per Business Insider. Business Insider also stated, such testing might keep some employees from applying to companies that require it. In addition, urine tests are not the most accurate when it comes to drug results, it can show the presence of THC even if marijuana wasn’t ingested recently or regularly.
The National Law Review notes the Nevada law doesn’t apply if in conflict with the provisions of collective bargaining agreements or employment contracts, or to positions funded by federal grants. The law also allows for exemptions for positions an employer has determined could adversely affect the safety of others, so companies are advised to review job descriptions with that in mind, per the National Law Review.
New York City’s recently passed law also has a number of exemptions, including law enforcement officers; some construction or maintenance jobs; employees required to have a commercial driver’s license; those supervising children, medical patients or those with disabilities.
Quest Diagnostics found marijuana positivity rates rose at least 20 percent from 2015 to 2017 for workers in transportation, construction and manufacturing industries, per Business Insider. Post-accident urine test positives shot up 81 percent between 2014 and 2018.
We are noticing many changes in testing for marijuana, however it is very important to have exemptions in these new laws for all safety sensitive occupations. As the legalization laws keep expanding throughout the nation, so will the drug testing policy’s. The end of pre-employment testing for marijuana could be on the horizon, but not for everyone there will always be exemptions for using marijuana.
If you need to order a drug test with or without THC give us a call today at (800) 221-4291 or visit our website at www.Accrediteddrugtesting.com