To Test…or Not to Test…for Marijuana

As you might imagine, A-Check gets a lot of questions from our clients regarding marijuana legalization and new drug testing trends we’re seeing as a result. We love fielding questions like these, mainly because it shows our clients take evolving legislation seriously when developing or enhancing employment screening programs.

We thought this might be a good opportunity to very quickly share some helpful information on the topic, especially for those who are wondering whether or not to continue testing for marijuana in their drug screens.

First, with a growing number of states legalizing recreational marijuana, it stands to reason—and research supports—drug test positivity across the majority of industries is also on the rise. It is also shown that marijuana continues to be among the most commonly detected substances.

A-Check closely tracks overall drug screening activity across our own clients, and we can report that even with widening recreational and medical marijuana legalization, clients are still testing for marijuana 98% of the time. Of course, pre-employment testing can vary by screening package, state, or job position (safety-sensitive for example). And for post-employment testing (either for post-accident or for reasonable suspicion) we continue to test for marijuana 100% of the time.

Taking this one step further, Quest Diagnostics—our drug screening partner—shares insight with us regarding marijuana testing. They report that across all Quest national testing (pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, etc.) approximately 98-99% of all urine tests include marijuana. As a separate group, testing for marijuana in recreational use states is still nearly 95%. That does not represent a significant declining trend due to increasing legalization.

Finally, let’s take a quick look at a very recent position paper from the National Safety Council (NSC), stating that while the amount of THC detectable in a person’s body does not directly correlate with a level of impairment, NSC believes it is unsafe to be under the influence of cannabis while working in a safety-sensitive position. Further evidence that perhaps we will not see a significant decline in marijuana testing for some time.

We hope insight like this is helpful to you, and welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you might have regarding your drug screening needs.

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