Drug testing in the workplace has slowed down with the passing of time — and marijuana legalization. Still, some industries are more likely to demand it from their workers, creating a problem, especially now that marijuana is mainstream and some states have legal medical marijuana programs in place.
Per Marijuana Moment, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (LBS) released a labor report that measures businesses’ responses to the pandemic. It goes into detail about drug testing practices and the types of businesses that are more likely to make these demands.
The report is the first one since 1996 to ask employers whether they conduct drug tests. Predictably, numbers have changed, with only 16% of the surveyed worksites practicing drug tests. In 1996, 30% of the surveyed worksites practiced drug tests.
The survey found that the industries that are more likely to ask for drug tests include transportation and warehousing, with far higher rates than other industries. Businesses that had the lowest rates of drug tests included the ones involved in the arts, entertainment, and recreation.
The LBS also found that drug tests were less common in legalized states, showing that the laws had an impact on the mentality of the people that lived there. Eight out of 10 states with the lowest drug testing numbers had legal cannabis programs, including California, Vermont, New York, and Colorado. Out of the 10 states that had the highest drug testing rates, none had legal cannabis programs. These include South Carolina, Kentucky, and others.
Why drug test?
Workplace drug testing is a practice that grew popular with the Reagan administration, a time when the war on drugs took off. As the years passed and new research appeared, the outlook on marijuana has drastically shifted, with the majority of people losing their fear over it and even preaching for its legalization.
Marijuana legalization is inevitable. While the process is slow, it’s only been growing in support, with more and more states decriminalizing and working towards building a functioning industry that’s profitable and gives the people what they want. Workplace drug testing is one of the last kinks that should be resolved in the coming years. It will go away at some point, but for now, people have to be careful.