Marijuana Drug Tests and The Workplace: Necessary or Unfair?

Many workplaces choose to drug test a prospective employee as the last step in the interviewing process before they’re able to secure the job for certain. Typically, this process is done through urinalysis, where a sample of urine is tested for drug metabolites. However, not all drugs remain in the body for the same amount of time.

Cocaine, for instance, is typically undetectable in urine after approximately four days. Semi-frequent users of marijuana can have detectable amounts of THC (one of the psychoactive chemicals responsible for the “high” of marijuana”) in their system for 45-90 days. Cannabis is considered to be one of the “softer” drugs out there, but users are saddled with one of the longest detection periods out of all illicit drugs, which requires totally abstaining from use for the entirety of those 45-90 days. Very few drugs besides cannabis are detectable beyond a week of use, for comparison’s sake.

Why Companies Drug Test

A company will choose to drug test for a few reasons, one of them being that they would like to hire people who are able to respect authority & follow the law, it’s an attribute that translates well into the workforce as it shows the ability to follow rules. Secondly, employees impaired on drugs are much more likely to be less productive or even downright unsafe on the work site, which affects more people than just the person who decided to consume illegal drugs should an accident take place.

If a workplace accident occurs and anyone involved is found to have drugs in their system, the business could suffer heavy lawsuits for not being more diligent with who they chose to trust in a situation where responsibility is pivotal. Typically, when evidence that an employee embroiled in an injury scandal was on the influence of illegal drugs comes to light, the company might have to pay double or even triple in fees should a lawsuit occur.

An Unfair Barrier for Entry: Marijuana Drug Tests

Knowing why companies drug test, it doesn’t seem too unreasonable of them to have chosen this route, but it can be argued that marijuana users are being unfairly targeted. Even very qualified individuals have been turned away from jobs for their urine coming back positive for THC.

Since the detection period is so long for marijuana, someone could have not been under the influence for a month yet still be considered ineligible for the position they applied for. Not only that, marijuana has shown to be have very minimal consequences on the mental, physical, and financial health of users. A large number have even taken to likening it to a cup of tea or a warm bath after a long day to help decompress.

The average marijuana user is seldom supporting large scale drug cartels or actively engaging in antisocial behavior besides the actual act of possession & consumption itself. The idea that a casual marijuana user should be screened with as much prejudice as the chronic heroin user is outdated and public opinion is shifting more and more towards marijuana acceptance each week.

This has not changed the minds of many large-scale companies & their insurance brokers, however, who maintain that because the substance is illegal any use whatsoever means that the candidate should be denied the opportunity to have gainful employment.

A Question of Ethics

Is it fair that someone who took a puff from a joint sound suffer consequences well past when they made the choice to consume? Maybe you even subscribe to the idea that private companies have no business whatsoever policing what an individual chooses to put inside their body in their own free time.

If you are finding yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place and are worried your urine is contaminated, check out this great article from THC Detox on how to expedite the removal from THC metabolites from your body.

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