As cannabis legalization continues to be a hot button issue this election season, some business owners and employers are conflicted about their policies of drug testing. Most legal cannabis business owners likely only have an issue with their employees being high on the job. But some employers in other industries with businesses in legal states – which could finally include California this fall – are conflicted about whether to continue testing their employees for cannabis.
Some business leaders and employment experts are saying employers are starting to find themselves with legal issues if they still ask a job applicant for a urine sample. This typical hiring protocol drug screening might violate the individual worker’s right to privacy if they have a medical condition. For potential employees complying with drug testing typically means choosing either to refuse the urine test and not getting the job, or complying and having the employer know their consumption habits.
In a perfect world, a business owner has a right to decide whether they want a “drug-free workplace” (even though the drug caffeine always seems perfectly fine) or whether they choose to stay out of the personal lives of their employees. If the employee is involved in a major accident or incident, it makes sense that an investigation and a drug test would be in order. Business owners invest their lives into their companies, so it is certainly understandable that they would want all of their employees to be responsible and clear-headed.
But, as long as employee performance meets expectations, it shouldn’t really matter, right? If only it were that simple. Despite the advancements towards legalization we’ve seen recently, many employers still buy into the age-old prohibitionist mindset that says going out for drinks during happy hour with coworkers is socially acceptable; but ingesting a plant medicine is not – even if it’s legal.
On the employee side, times are tough and the job market is certainly not the best it’s ever been. The jobs just aren’t there for many Americans looking for work, and this sometimes leads to settling compromises. Some potential pro-cannabis employees would have to not only go against their principles, but also discontinue use of a plant medicine that helps treat whatever ails them. As legalization continues to progress and people become more educated about cannabis, these issues should start to fade away.
What do you think? Should employers have the legal right to drug test all of their employees and potential hires? Is it better to test or not? How can job seekers protect themselves?