Employer Drug Testing – Marijuana

Right To Terminate Employee For Testing Positive

Under the laws of most states it is NOT illegal for the employer to either refuse to hire or terminate an employee based on marijuana use, whether such marijuana has been prescribed by a physician or not. Further, it is currently legal to deny unemployment benefits if the employee was terminated for testing positive for marijuana.

Proving Marijuana Was Used On The Job Is Problematic

Even though marijuana is considered by many as the most benign and the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, it is also the most problematic of drugs for employer testing purposes. This is because the presence of THC can remain in a person’s blood stream for up to a month after it was smoked or ingested. The speed at which THC actually leaves your bloodstream (and therefore your urine) will depend on the speed of the individual’s metabolism. Since the rate of metabolism can vary substantially between people, testing for drug use on the job, at the time you were actually on the job, can be quite problematic for the employer. Specifically, a person can use marijuana on Sunday, while off work, and yet test positive for marijuana weeks later. This becomes even more problematic if the employee has been legally prescribed medical marijuana by a healthcare provider such as a doctor or nurse paractioner.

Types Of Testing

If blood and urine tests make it difficult to detect the presence of marijuana, hair tests are even more problematic. That’s because your body stores THC in its hair follicles and the presence of THC can remain in the hair for up to three years after the last time you smoked. This dilemma has prompted employees to fight back by obtaining ingestible products or purifying shampoo that will cause a person to test negative for marijuana.

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