Drug Testing Safety Screenings

What's Up with Mary Jane: Keeping Up with Evolving Marijuana Laws

Right now the marijuanna laws vary between states. These state laws will continue to shift as favor for legalization expands among the general public. A 2019 Pew Research study shows that two-thirds of the American public support legalization, with 91% in favor of both medical and recreational use. To combat the constant legal modifications, your drug policy should be reviewed and updated regularly. Workplace Safety Screenings can help you monitor the ever-shifting laws so that your business and the drug policies you employ remain compliant to laws in which your business resides. The federal government still classifies marijuanna as an illegal substance. When you combine that classification with the progressive state laws, that leaves business owners like you in a legal quagmire. How do you remain compliant with laws that seem to contradict one another at the state and federal level? How does that impact your ability to provide a safe workplace?


“This uncertain regulatory scheme places employers in the delicate position of attempting to comply with divergent laws while maintaining order and safety in the workplace,” said Timothy P. Van Dyck and Nathanael Nichols of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP in Boston.


Marjiuanna Laws Change, but the Risks Remain

Regardless of the growing popularity in marijuana legalization, the bottom line is that using the drug does cause impairment to employees and that reality must be taken into account when drafting your corporate safety initiatives. Studies show that cannabis use may not cause long term cognitive decline in users, however, studies also show that “use on neurocognitive function has shown that cannabis intoxication leads to small to moderate deficits in several cognitive domains.” While long term effects remain to be conclusive, a recent review of multiple studies show that while under the influence cognitive impairment can last 4-10 hours--- a full shift. These impairments include the operation of machinery that leads to an inability to accurately judge speed and distance and slow response times, among others, all of which are amplified by compounding substances.


The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration lists the percentage of accidents where at least one driver tested positive for marijuana use at 32%, with 9.7% of all cannabis users openly admitting to smoking and then driving and 50% of those with cannabis use disorder reporting driving while “stoned”.


Avoid the Risks with Regular Testing

Even with marijuanna use gaining popularity, business owners must remain vigilant in making sure that the growing usage doesn’t spill over onto the worksite floor. Some companies, like Amazon, have chosen to forgo drug testing for certain employees claiming that the practice provides an unnecessary barrier to employment for certain segments of the population. Perhaps companies with excessive financial resources are able to overcome legal issues and workers compensation claims that can result from compromising safety standards. Smaller employees, however, do not have that luxury…to say nothing of their legal obligation to provide a safe workplace for all employees.


“Employers remain legally responsible for the actions of their employees while on the job and a marijuana-impaired worker is more likely to cause an accident or make a costly mistake or be less productive than a non-marijuana-using worker.” Bill Current, president of Current Consulting Group


Keep your worksite and your employees safe with pre employment and regular post-hire drug testing from Workplace Safety Screenings. We can consult on legal compliance and provide reliable, on-site testing protocols so that won’t disrupt workflow and production.


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