Last updated: March 30, 2020
Compliance consultants at USA Mobile Drug Testing get this question often from employers. Many of these employers have Drug Free Workplace Policies in effect.
WOW! Marijuana, while pretty widely accepted, is still illegal. Would you allow your employees to break other laws on the weekends – hey what they do on their own time is their own business.
First off, employers should always follow their company policies. If the policy states that the use of illegal drugs is prohibited on or off the job and marijuana is included in the list of illegal drugs; then you have to follow the policy when there is a violation.
Secondly, Department of Transportation (DOT) regulated employees cannot use illegal drugs including marijuana on or off the job. This is a serious safety violation and an employer can face fines or be shut down for allowing someone who previously tested positive to continue to drive without required rehabilitation.
And there are a number of other reasons why an employer should care if their employees smoke pot on the weekends. How do you know they only smoke pot on the weekends? There is no test that can tell you when the person used the illegal drug. In any drug testing program, management must only be concerned with pass or fail after a confirmed drug test result is verified and reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO). At USA Mobile Drug Testing only Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) laboratories are utilized that perform initial and confirmation testing. All results are verified and reviewed by the MRO.
Business owners and human resource managers often ask for the quantitative levels on a positive test for marijuana. Why? Is the business owner or HR manager a scientist with more knowledge than the scientist employed at SAMHSA certified laboratories? What part of a positive drug test is misunderstood? The levels do not tell you when the person smoked the marijuana.
We must also consider the harmful effects of using marijuana and the effects in the workplace. Marijuana effects on the human body often have many negative and adverse consequences; marijuana effects include a weakening of the immune system, loss of memory, verbal skills and judgment. Are these the employees you are relying on? While many believe marijuana to be a “safe” drug, or one that cannot become addictive, studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and other research shows that marijuana and long-term marijuana effects can lead to addiction. In the long term, health insurance costs sky rocket when drug users are in the group.
Smoking marijuana, while often joked about in circles of friends who smoke marijuana, does include severe impairment to a person’s ability to create and recall memories and events. Many drug users and friends of drug users see marijuana as a relatively innocent drug; however research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that marijuana has caused considerably dangerous conditions when driving under the influence. High doses of marijuana can cause hallucinations and delusions, at which point the person under the influence is liable to place him/her in unsafe situations.
USA Mobile Drug Testing compliance consultants have the best interest of their clients in mind. There is nothing effective that one can do with the quantitative levels on a positive drug test, in fact under DOT regulations it is prohibited to provide this information to the employer.
Employing folks who smoke pot is huge exposure to liability. Marijuana users often use other drugs also. No one who died from a heroin overdose ever just woke up that day and decided to use heroin. Unfortunately they most likely started with marijuana and then moved on to cocaine and other highly dangerous drugs leading to the heroin overdose. Do not let this happen in your organization.