AutoNation Stops Discrimination Against Weed Users

A huge win for prospective employees.
AutoNation Stops Discrimination Against Weed Users

Hiring practices and employment-related drug tests are some of the tension points that seem to surface when states legalize weed. If cannabis is legal in a state, can employers still drug test job applicants or employees for weed? Can they refuse to hire someone who tests positive? Can a company fire someone for failing a weed test? In most cases, employers can still discriminate based on weed use. But some companies are taking matters into their hands by simply choosing not to care whether or not an employee or job applicant consumes cannabis. One example is car dealership company AutoNation Inc. With some key policy changes, AutoNation stops discrimination against weed users.

Changing Attitudes Toward Weed

AutoNation Inc. is one of the biggest car dealership groups in the United States. Back in the day, the company maintained a policy of screening out employees and job applicants who failed a drug test. The policy was in line with how most other companies operated—and continue to operate.

But, unlike many other companies, AutoNation has decided to change its company policies to reflect changing attitudes and laws about weed. More specifically, the company no longer refuses to hire people who test positive for cannabis use.

The change was made quietly, but it has since gained the praise of many in the cannabis community. Further, some see it as indicative of a larger trend in which employers and companies may be moving away from strict no-cannabis hiring policies.

For AutoNation in particular, the change to company policy represents a full turnaround from earlier practices.

“If you tested positive for marijuana, you couldn’t join our company,” AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told industry media outlet Automotive News. “At a certain point, we said, ‘You know what? That’s wrong.'”

Now, it does not matter if a job applicant tests positive for cannabis or not. Jackson and his company are clear, however, that this same lenience is not granted to other illegal drugs. If an applicant tests positive for other substances, such as cocaine or other illegal drugs, they will still not be hired.

Currently, the car company has somewhere around 26,000 employees.

Final Hit: AutoNation Stops Discrimination Against Weed Users

In many ways, AutoNation is still in the early waves of companies willing to adopt more lax policies regarding cannabis. Many corporations still maintain strict zero tolerance rules, regardless of state laws.

But AutoNation’s decision to move away from older rules about weed could be a sign that things are changing in corporate America.

General attitudes toward cannabis continue to evolve as more and more people express support for legalization. In fact, a Gallup poll from October 2017 revealed that more people are in favor of legalizing weed than ever before.

The report found that 64 percent of Americans think weed should be legal. “This is the highest level of public support Gallup has found for the proposal in nearly a half-century of measurement,” the report summarized.

These changing attitudes could drive changes in real-world policies and practices. Obviously, it could spur on legal changes to cannabis possession and weed growing laws. But it could also motivate changes in the corporate world, especially when it comes to urine drug tests or hair follicles of potential employees. In any case, as AutoNation stops discrimination against weed users, it positions itself at the forefront of any such movement.

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