Thankfully, testing for pot in Colorado work sites has declined over the past two years. Some companies, seven percent, have totally dropped marijuana from their pre-employment tests and three percent have removed it from all drug tests.
It’s about time, considering that recreational weed in Colorado was approved by voters in 2012 and medical marijuana in 2000.
A survey done by the Mountain States Employers Council (MSEC) in December marked a shift from 2014, when when one-in-five employers reported stringent drug-testing policies, reported the Denver Post, which pointed out that these results don’t necessarily mean businesses are happy about their employees smoking weed.
“It’s because we have low unemployment,” said Curtis Graves, an attorney with MSEC. “They may prefer a zero-tolerance approach. From a business perspective, they just can’t afford to be as choosy now.”
Gee, Colorado…what are you complaining about?
Graves said some employers would likely resume testing if the unemployment rate went back up to six or seven percent; it was only three percent in December, among the lowest in the country. The national unemployment rate is 4.8 percent.
Colorado businesses aren’t alone when it comes to changing policy regarding drug testing and weed. Oregon is also moving to protect its pot-smokers.
The Oregonian recently reported on a bill introduced in the Oregon senate that would mean no more tests for cannabis use as a condition for employment and no more fear that casual toking could cost you your job.
Senate Bill 301 “provides that conditioning employment on refraining from using any substance that is lawful to use in this state is unlawful employment practice.”
While the bill doesn’t explicitly state that it refers to cannabis products, it was put forth by the Joint Interim Marijuana Legalization Committee (no pun intended), which seeks to address the issue that in a state where weed is legal, workers should not be fired for off-duty pot use.
Oregon’s Senate bill would make marijuana use legally similar to tobacco use—meaning that as long as consumption doesn’t happen during work hours or interfere with work duties, it would be illegal to fire someone, or not hire someone, based on casual use.
If Senate Bill 301 becomes law, Oregon could wind up setting a standard for other states to follow.
It could also help rid the cannabis industry of one of its many challenges, not the least of which is the popular vote loser in the White House and his radical right wing, anti-weed crusaders. But that’s another story.