By Kai Vieira da Rosa
Twelve states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, but within those states, many employers still drug test for it.
Abstaining from the use of marijuana should not be included in the terms of employment in fields that require no formal education or training in states where the recreational use of marijuana is legal.
Employers for basic entry level jobs like cashiers or car sales-men should not be declining applicants who test positive for marijuana.
An employee should not be fired because they use marijuana, but instead, be fired because their work performance is poor.
There are simply too many responsible people that lose the opportunity or get fired because they use marijuana outside of the job. Countless reliable college students can’t find the jobs they need due to the fact that they legally enjoy the drug here or there.
A study released by the Washington Post on Marijuana use in the past month (%), by age group and state showed that of all admitted users in Washington state, 23.44 percent are between ages 18- to 25-years-old.
In college towns like Bellingham or Pullman, a significant part of the population is made up of students within the 18- to 25-year-old age group.
Students looking for work find that a job that doesn’t test for marijuana is one of the most competitive positions to fill. Simple jobs like running a cash register at a grocery store are unavailable to users of marijuana, making the search for available positions that much harder.
If employers instead allowed recreational use outside of the workplace, it would provide opportunity to a wider range of the age group.
Drug testing is often used by companies to keep themselves from being held liable to injury or poor efficiency do to workers that are under the influence.
Marijuana stays in the system of a part-time user longer than most substances.
A drug test isn’t accurate enough to determine if a person is high at the time of the test. Depending on the frequency of use, THC can stay in a person’s system long after being under the influence.
This means an employee can still have THC show in their system even if they are 100 percent sober at the time of the test.
A company that does not allow their workers to enjoy a drink outside of company time would be unheard of. Employers should use the same logic that they have regarding alcohol consumption for marijuana use.
A heavy user of alcohol can lead to poor performance in the workplace which is a fireable offense. Workers who choose to use marijuana should be allowed to do so occasionally, like alcohol, but managers should be aware of what employees do and take note if their work performance drops.
The only real exception I could see to this proposition would be federally run companies or agencies.
Due to the fact that recreational use of the drug is still not federally legal, federal run establishments would have to drug test. Though, this may not be applicable at all in future years if the legalization of marijuana continues to be supported.
Companies should still be able to hold the right to test for sobriety in the workplace during work hours. For example, a warehouse worker should be fired if he is under the influence of marijuana while at work. Being high on the job can result in injury or poor work performance which is an acceptable reason to fire an employee. Being high outside of work hours should not be against the rules because using it on your own time doesn’t the work place in any way.