With societal views on marijuana use becoming more accepting, decriminalization policies have become more popular. As of May 2022, twenty-seven states have decriminalized marijuana. Furthermore, counties and other jurisdictions within criminalized states have approved decriminalization under their policies. Decriminalization does not necessarily make marijuana use legal but prevents prosecution when a person possesses a small amount. As an employer, this could significantly affect drug testing and its importance in the workplace. Employers may be wondering if it is even still worth it to participate in drug screening for marijuana.

What Types of Jobs are More Likely to Drug Test

To better understand the effects of decriminalization on drug testing, it is important to understand the current role marijuana use plays within different industries and locations. For example, just because marijuana may be criminalized in the state, it is essential to check with local policies and regulations. On the other hand, federal employees may face stricter regulations, and use may be restricted. For example, federal contractors and employees, such as the Department of Transportation, can still be tested for marijuana and alcohol. 

While only 1.47 percent of job postings require drug testing, according to Forbes, these statistics widely vary based on the industry and specific position. Specific sectors are more likely to test for liability and production purposes. These industries include government, healthcare, transportation/logistics, and manufacturing. In addition, any industry or position that could face a safety issue due to the use of drugs or marijuana is likely to perform a drug test before employment. On the other hand, customer service and retail jobs are among the least likely to a drug test. 

Marijuana Use and the Workplace

A 2019 study by Quest Diagnostics showed positive drug tests in the workplace were at a fourteen-year high. Interestingly, the study determined that 4.4 percent of employees tested positive, with 2.8 percent of that being for marijuana. The cultural shift towards the acceptance of marijuana likely has a lot to do with this. With marijuana being less taboo, more people are likely to try it who would not have in the past. These record-high positive drug tests likely reflect marijuana users who are more comfortable using it publicly than in the past. Of the 4.4 percent of employees who used drugs, only 1.6 percent used a drug other than marijuana. 

Current Drug Testing Options 

Therefore, what will this shift in marijuana use mean for drug testing as an industry? These positive tests will likely continue to increase. It will ultimately be left up to the employer and industry-standard whether or not marijuana use will be accepted for workers. As far as those industries that are the most likely to drug test, it is unlikely that their position on marijuana use will change due to safety and liability hazards. However, marijuana use is here to stay for the country as a whole. Marijuana is not just a drug for teens and young adults. A 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) study showed that greater than 10 percent of adults over the age of 26 reported using marijuana. 

Nevertheless, drug and alcohol use is still a crucial issue threatening many companies regardless of the legality of marijuana in their jurisdiction. Drug screening searches for drugs such as cocaine, opioids, and alcohol. Soteria Screening Laboratories offers drug testing that fits your company’s needs in an effective and time-efficient manner. 


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