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Smoking legal marijuana could cost you your job


Rafael Castillo-CC

Zelda Caldwell - published on 05/29/17 - updated on 05/30/17

Employers continue to screen for pot use, even in states that have legalized the drug

Even if marijuana is legal in your state, smoking it could cost you your job, or prevent you from getting hired in the first place.

As states have moved forward to legalize marijuana, employers have not taken a similarly lenient stance on drug use when looking for new employees to hire, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Even in states where marijuana is legal, employees continue to screen applicants for use of the drug, Barry Sample, a scientist with Quest Diagnostics told the Post.

“Ninety-nine percent of drug panels we perform in Colorado and Washington,” he said, “still test for marijuana.”

According to a study by Quest, Colorado and Washington, which became the first two states to legalize marijuana in 2012, showed the sharpest increase in pot smokers over the last four years. Urine tests that detected pot rose by 11 percent in Colorado and 9 percent in Washington.

In spite of its legality, marijuana impairs ones faculties, and employers looking to fill jobs that involve some kind of safety risk – like truck and school bus drivers, pilots, subway engineers and security guards – continue to test for the presence of THC.

“Some employers are extremely worried about filling jobs,” Curtis Graves of the Mountain States Employers Council, told the Post.

“Work that is considered ‘safety sensitive’ typically requires that test, and that’s not changing.”

Eight states have legalized marijuana, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia allow the use of medical marijuana.

Employers can refuse to hire anyone who uses the drug as it is still illegal under federal law.

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