When it comes to drug testing, studies show that small businesses have a disproportionate number of positive results.  Employees know they will be tested at larger facilities but historically have not been tested in small businesses. It has been one expense small business owners thought they could avoid. As cannabis and drug usage escalates, they have to accept that it will infiltrate their businesses too and must prepare for the inevitable.

Recreational marijuana and medical marijuana use are legal in 15 states, illegal in 6 states that have not passed a medical marijuana law, and somewhere in between in the other 29 states.

There are 5 levels the state can fall under regarding cannabis use: 

  1. Legalized
  2. Medical and Decriminalized
  3. Medical
  4. Decriminalized 
  5. Fully Illegal

You must understand which level your state, or states if you have multiple locations, stand on these laws before implementing a drug testing policy. Our experts at Soteria work for a national testing company so they can help you with that.

How will you implement your drug testing policy?

You should implement your drug testing policy the same in states where marijuana is legal as in the states where it is illegal. Your first step would be to get an idea of what you want from your drug testing.

Do you want pre-employment testing? Or do you think you have one or more employees that are drinking or using drugs before coming to work or at lunchtime? Do you have a lot of drivers on the road and you need proof that they are sober to bring your insurance premiums down? Or do you just think it would be a good policy to implement? You don’t have to have the answers initially, just think about these things. 

What do I do differently in the states where marijuana is legal?

This is actually where the legality issue comes in. Eleven states have laws that explicitly protect a medical marijuana user with a prescription card. Arizona, Delaware, and Minnesota state that an employee cannot be fired or refused to be hired based on a positive marijuana drug test, even for using it recreationally, as long as it is from activities away from the job.

In all other states, if you establish pre-employment drug testing as a part of the application process you can refuse to hire an applicant based on positive alcohol, marijuana, or drug test. 

What about the current employees?

Establish your policy, inform them, and then follow through. Before the first round of testing, inform your employees of the first test so they will not feel like you surprised them. In the future, you have the option to do random alcohol, marijuana, or drug testing, or you can test everyone on the same day. 

Anyone under the influence of a substance may be slower and less clear in thoughts. This could result in a bad accident that breaks equipment, or worse, causes an injury.

Then a drug test would certainly be required, just as if one would be necessary if you have a driver get into an accident. If the employee has never been drug tested, the liability falls on the employer, not the insurance carrier. This also applies to positive test results that were never addressed.

Any of these incidents could bankrupt a small business.

Drug testing is important.

Above all, drug testing keeps your workforce healthy and at their best. Additionally, the sober workers are glad to be recognized. It helps your insurance rates. If there is an incident, you have proof that you have done your part with drug tests. Drug testing can help large and small businesses, and especially businesses with multiple locations. Get in touch with the experts at Soteria Screening. They can help answer your questions and get your business started in the right direction.

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