With the legalization of recreational use of marijuana on the rise, testing marijuana at work has become more important for a more accurate account of employees' responsibilities at work. Still recognizing the fact that many states (at least 16) have passed laws allowing the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, employers are still responsible for cases of injuries sustained by workers at work. Employees’ safety is as important as productivity. And every business must work hard to protect its operation and the employees.

RecoIntensive reports that about 35 million Americans use marijuana monthly as at 2017 (previously reported by Yahoo News/Marist survey). Also, at least 78 million participants in the survey said they have used the substance at some point. These people are not all jobless; they are working for some employers.

An employee that uses marijuana at work is prone to impaired thinking and ability to perform complex duties, short-term memory, and costly errors. The employee can also suffer the loss of balance, concentration, coordination and decreased reaction time. It can be more dangerous if the employee works in positions where heavy equipment is handled. The use of marijuana at work has already caused accidents that led to fatal injuries and death, at great cost to the employers.

Marijuana Testing at Work

The most promising system of handling marijuana at work is to develop a well-written drug and alcohol policy. Marijuana testing programme should be clearly highlighted in the drug policy to make testing legal in your office. Testing marijuana at work is a crucial step to determine if your employee is impaired by marijuana for an immediate course of action before it becomes too late.

While setting up your drug policy, consider checking your state status on illicit drug use to understand what is legal, otherwise, consult an attorney. Employers in some states are affected by laws which limit conditions under which they can require marijuana testing of existing employees. Hence, employers are required to certify that the employees’ safety, business operation criteria or suspicion of drug use are the reasons for performing marijuana test.

Maintaining employees’ privacy is the most important factor while testing. Most times the individual’s right is not violated by conducting the test, but how the test was conducted or how the result was used sometimes breaches the privacy.

Employees should be evidently clarified on recreational marijuana as indicated in your policy, and avenues for dialogue should be open. N/B: all the responses from existing employee for marijuana testing should be documented, should there be any legal claims. Testing for new employees should be properly classified and their consent received/documented as provided in your policy before starting any test.

Common Marijuana Testing Methods

Urine testing: Cannabis detection window here is between 2 and 30 days. The frequency, THC content, body type and diet can also affect how long THC would remain in the patient’s body. However, it is the most commonly used method for marijuana testing used by employers.

Oral fluid testing: As the least commonly used for marijuana testing, the saliva testing detection window is between 24 to 48 hours.

Hair testing: Hair test has the longest window of detection, compared to other methods listed here. It can detect THC used three months ago or even more. This makes hair testing the most preferred method of marijuana testing for new employees.

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