Drug Screening and Marijuana Legalization

Drug Screening and Marijuana Legalization

Should I continue to test my applicants for marijuana?

Across the nation marijuana laws are changing rapidly. Since California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, public perception of the drug for recreational and compassionate use has also been shifting quickly.
Since California’s legalization vote, voters and legislatures in twenty-two additional states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for compassionate use. Four of these states have also decriminalized marijuana for recreational use.
Questions concerning the efficacy of marijuana for medical purposes, or the economic impact of legalizing the drug for recreational purposes could be raised in regards to legalization, but in the world of human resources and talent acquisition only one question really matters: Should I continue to test my applicants for marijuana?

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Drug Screening: Testing for Synthetic Cannabinoids Available

Synthetic cannabinoids are sold as “herbal incense” and resemble potpourri. They have gained media attention in recent years as a “legal high.” While most of the substances are not actually cannabinoids, they act on the same receptor in the human body as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient in marijuana, and produce psychoactive effects similar to marijuana.

Some of the more common product names include K2 (K3, K4), Spice, Bliss, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Fake Weed, Genie, Mad Hatter, Rocket Engine and Sky. Marketed as “safe” highs, synthetic cannabinoids are commonly purchased in head shops, tobacco shops, various retail outlets and on the internet.

Urine testing for the synthetic cannabinoids panel is screened using Liquid Chromatography tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). Any non-negative drug screen is also confirmed by LC/MS/MS – the newest lab-based urine drug testing technology.

Learn More: Synthetic Cannabinoids Fact Sheet from Quest Diagnostics