Employers in Colorado who test potential employees for cannabis have been on the slow but steady decline over the past two years. About seven percent of employers have dropped cannabis testing from their pre-employment screenings entirely.
The Mountain States Employers Council (MSEC) did a survey in December that indicated a shift in employer attitudes toward cannabis. Back in 2014, 1-in-5 employers reported stringent drug testing policies, according to the Denver Post. They made it clear that the results don’t automatically mean business owners are happy with their employees ingesting cannabis.
Thankfully, Colorado businesses aren’t alone when it comes to changing company drug policy regarding the legal herb. Oregon is also moving to protect workers that might enjoy some weed. The Oregonian recently reported on a bill introduced in the Oregon senate that would mean no more pre-employment tests for cannabis use and no more random drug tests while employed.
Senate Bill 301 “provides that conditioning employment on refraining from using any substance that is lawful to use in this state is an unlawful employment practice.”
The bill doesn’t explicitly refer to cannabis products outright, but the Joint Interim Marijuana Legalization Committee has made their intentions clear. Their stance is definitive – in a state where weed is legal, employees should not be terminated for off-duty use. Seems logically consistent, right? It would only make sense that if there is no testing for legal alcohol, cannabis should be treated no differently.
If passed, Oregon’s Senate bill would make cannabis use legally similar to tobacco use. As long as employees don’t consume on the job or their consumption doesn’t interfere with work duties, it would essentially become illegal to fire them based on casual personal use. It would also be illegal to not hire someone based on the same thing. If Senate Bill 301 does eventually become law, Oregon could be giving an example and setting a standard in order for other states to follow. Detractors of the bill argue that business owners should have the right to hire or do business with someone as long as they’re not being discriminated against for their race, religion, sex, creed, etc.
What are your thoughts on this bill? Should employers be able to decide to not hire people based on personal consumption or should this be a law across the board in every state? Let us know in the comments.Employers in Colorado who test potential employees for cannabis have been on the slow but steady decline over the past two years.