The Job Seeker, The Workplace and Marijuana

By CityFella

Nearly half the nation has legalized medicinal marijuana and four states and Washington DC has legalized recreational use.

Some users assume with legalization,the laws with the workplace would change with the laws.   The short answer is no.

With legalization some employers have seen their cost increase. They are now screening more applicants because many ,especially young applicants fail. They assumed marijuana would be excluded from mandatory drug testing.

The most recent studies show alcohol and drug use including marijuana have a negative impact on productively, costing companies billions.

The most recent figures from drug-testing company Quest Diagnostics show that positive results for marijuana use in the workforce rose 6.2 % in 2013. This contributed to the first rise in positives for overall drug testing since 2003. In the two states that legalized recreational marijuana use before the report was issued, the increase was even more pronounced: in Washington, use was up by 23%, and rose by 20% in Colorado.(4)

Results from a U.S. Postal Service study indicate that employees who tested positive on their pre-employment drug test were 77 percent more likely to be discharged within the first three years of employment, and were absent from work 66 percent more often than those who tested negative.Normand, J., Salyards, S. & Maloney, J. “An Evaluation of Preemployment Drug Testing.” Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol. 75, No. 6, 1990. pp. 629-639.

Companies are trying to decide between two extremes: tightening policies on positive test results to keep users out of their workforces, or loosening them to avoid driving away qualified employees.

Employers cannot discriminate against employees who test positive for marijuana when it’s prescribed by a physician. However, employers in many states are still allowed to reprimand employees who are impaired on the job due to drug use.

Marijuana use is still illegal under federal laws. Therefore, any workplace that receives federal funding or is subject to federal regulations requiring the testing of safety-sensitive workers — like the Department of Transportation, for example  must consider marijuana a prohibited substance according to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.

The Workplace 

If you are currently employed.  Review the companies drug policy, again many people incorrectly believe legalized marijuana is excluded.   If you work for a government, City, State or Federal , operate machinery, work with children,  patients or drive a vehicle your not excluded.

If you are a Federal contractor or work for a Federal Contractor , your marijuana policies are governed, first and foremost, by the federal Drug Free Workplace Act. This Act (the DFW Act) requires entities that contract with the federal government to enforce zero-tolerance policies regarding use of illegal drugs in the workplace. Because federal contractors are subject to federal law pursuant to the terms of their contracts, and because marijuana is still an illegal drug under federal law, no state law may require a federal contractor to accommodate marijuana use. (3)


“The Nose Knows” *

Do not smoke with colleagues.  Smokers tend to smoke in groups.  Smoking marijuana during work hours isn’t wise. Smoking marijuana with your co-workers during work hours may create a quite few new jobs openings as your entire group may be tested   Doesn’t matter if its in your car or outside a local bar its safer for the group to smoke in the privacy of someones home.

Do not smoke before and during work breaks.  Most smokers are immune to the smell or marijuana.  Non smokers are very sensitive to smoke.  Those smoking in small areas or cars often announce their arrival as the enter a room.  This concentrated smoke be it tobacco or  marijuana is could be offensive to clients, customers and some co-workers and could provoke a random drug test .


You’ll Sue!

Before you reach deep into your pocket to pay a retainer for an attorney.  Know this.  Most lawsuits involving marijuana has favored the employer.


 No state protects recreational marijuana users from being fired for failing workplace drug tests, even if they’ve never shown up to work high.(1)

Some state laws contain language that may support medical marijuana users’ claims for civil protections, but courts often side with federal law that says any marijuana use is strictly prohibited.(1)

Walmart employee Joseph Casias of Michigan who, in 2009, was fired for testing positive for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana). Casias used marijuana to alleviate symptoms of his sinus cancer, A court upheld his firing, despite medical marijuana being legal in Michigan.(1)

The Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t protect people who use marijuana for medical purposes, even if usage is sanctioned by state law.(2)

The Job Seeker

(See The Nose Knows)

As a former employer, I would eliminate a candidate on the first meeting if they smelled of marijuana, alcohol, or a heavy smell of tobacco.  The inability to focus, time off, and smoking breaks having other has adverse effect on the atmosphere of the staff.

I believe most employers employers could care less about what an employee does on their personal times.

There is a considerable cost involved hiring and developing an new employee.  The issue isn’t the drug, drink. The issue is finding the best productive candidate.

Its that first impression, that leads to a second meeting, that leads to employment.

If you a job seeker, and a recreational user. Read the employee policy, (Is drug testing a requirement for hire?) .

Save you money, don’t invest your limited cash on online, cleaners.  Don’t cut your hair before testing ( I simply needed a disposable razor)

Do not smoke in your car!  Like tobacco, marijuana adheres to cloth, leather and others surfaces, then transfers to your clothing.

While you are smoking, using your sell phone, take a few selfes or better still have someone else take a few hours worth’s of pictures.   After a few days, and when your straight, study the pictures.    This is what you look like.

So plan accordingly .


(1) International Business Times: ACLU Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Lawsuit Highlights Lazy Hiring Practices Era (2) Cannibus Now: What if your State Allows Marijuana Use But Your Job Doesn’t? (3) Forbes: Medical Marijuana and the Workplace: What the Employers Need to Know Now(4) The Guardian com:Marijuana legalization clashes with drug testing in the workplace

Published by CityFella

Moved to the Big Tomata in the nineties from San Francisco. No Suburbs for me with its single colored houses and lawns and the excitement of pulling out my trash can once a week. I'm a CityFella , a part time New Yorker. I'm happiest in the Center City where people the streets and people are alive. I'm still waiting to buy a 34th floor condo somewhere downtown/Midtown with a nightclub. "Hurry I'm old" My politics are somewhere in the middle with a needle that constantly moves. I'm too liberal to be a Republican and too conservative to be a Democrat. Everything interests me . I've come to love Sacratomato, Its a nice town in cheap sensible shoes .

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