As more states across the United States establish legal marijuana markets, employers are scrambling to adjust to this new reality. This is because the traditional no-tolerance policies are becoming harder to enforce in the face of the changes brought by legalization.
For instance, there is a current shortage of workers, particularly for lower-paying job opportunities. Pre-employment testing for marijuana is increasingly being seen as a barrier to getting even the few applicants interested in joining the workforce. Many companies are therefore suspending such pre-employment tests especially for jobs which aren’t safety sensitive, such as operating machinery or driving trucks.
The shift away from pre-employment cannabis testing doesn’t however mean that companies are doing away with marijuana testing. For example, Dave Clark, while still CEO of Amazon, wrote in a blog post that the company would no longer reject applicants on the basis of failing a cannabis test. However, the firm would still conduct drug tests after every safety incident or accident that occurs in order to establish whether the party involved was impaired.
Some employers are also expressing concerns about the possible effect on insurance premiums when they stop testing for marijuana before hiring employees and conducting routine tests for the substance on existing employees.
However, Mark Pew, a Georgia-based insurance expert focusing on workers’ compensation, says that it is unlikely that insurers will slap companies with bigger premiums just because those entities are no longer conducting marijuana tests. Rather, premiums could creep up if insurance firms notice that claims are increasing among companies with less stringent drug testing policies in comparison to those that conduct rigorous testing.
The tests themselves have faced some criticism since most test for the presence of THC metabolites in the sample (blood, urine, saliva or hair follicle) tested. A positive test therefore isn’t irrefutable proof that someone was impaired on the job. Rather, the test just confirms that the person used marijuana at some point in the past, and they may or may not have been impaired at the time of the safety incident. Better tests are needed to establish cannabis impairment in a way that can stand court scrutiny.
That notwithstanding, a broader trend of safer workplaces may make it harder to establish whether looser testing policies result in more work-related accidents. Statistics show that there are fewer accidents at work today compared to the frequency of such incidents in the years gone by.
As marijuana and other allied products from various manufacturers like Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) grow in popularity, employers are likely to continue tweaking their drug use policies so that they are more in tandem with current realities.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACTX
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