Ending Job Discrimination Against Pot Smokers

One of the major concerns in current marijuana policy is job discrimination faced by those who smoke pot, while off the job and do not come to work in an impaired state.

In 49 states, Arizona being the only exception, private employers are legally allowed to fire anyone who tests positive for THC in their system, regardless of when the person consumed.

While THC remains in the system for days, or longer for heavier users, an individual is only impaired for about 90-minutes after smoking. It is only that 90-minute period that should concern the employer, not off-work usage.

Private corporations were encouraged by the federal government to drug test their employees as a way enforcing anti-marijuana laws. Those who drug-test their workers – 80 percent of all private US employers – seem oblivious to the hypocrisy of allowing workers to get drunk the night before, while treating off-the-job marijuana use as a fireable offense, even if it occurred days or weeks earlier.

This practice was justified by the distinction that marijuana was illegal, while alcohol was not. But now with changing marijuana policies, attitudes and a slew of legalization in the majority of US states, that justification no longer applies.

A blog on the NORML website points to another factor driving workplace drug testing: the influence of the drug-testing industry, which includes some former drug czars who have cashed-in on the “drug-free workplace” scam. Most private employers are convinced by the drug-testing industry that if they do not hire these drug-testing companies, they will be losing valuable production by workers who are stoned on the job.

NORML referred to this practice as “an ignorant and self-defeating policy that no longer has any place in the American workplace.”

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