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Fewer Employers Drug Testing for Marijuana as Legalization Grows

Job Drug Test

Employers continue to have trouble hiring workers in the tightening U.S. job market, and as more states legalize recreational marijuana there’s been a decrease in pre-employment drug tests, which for many decades was a requirement for new hires in industries ranging from manufacturing to finance.

As of 2018, Las Vegas-based Excellence Health Inc., a health care company that employs roughly 6,000 people, decided to stop drug testing employees in the pharmaceutical side of the business, according to

Liam Meyer, Excellence Health spokesperson, said, “We don’t care what people do in their free time. We want to help these people, instead of saying: ‘Hey, you can’t work for us because you used a substance.”

In February, AutoNation Inc., the largest automotive dealer in the country, announced that it would no longer disregard job applicants that test positive for marijuana, and in 2016, The Denver Post stopped its pre-employment drug screening process for all non-safety sensitive positions.

Companies in states that have legalized some form of marijuana are leading the way on nixing drug tests.

A survey in 2017 by Mountain States Employers Council surveyed 609 Colorado employers and found that the number of companies testing for marijuana dropped to 66%, down from 77% in 2016.

Drug testing reduces the candidate pool and in the current narrow labor market it’s affecting productivity and growth.

In surveys conducted by the Federal Reserve in 2017, employers noted an inability for applicants to pass drug screenings as a reason for difficulties in hiring. Failed screenings reached an all-time high in 2017, according to data compiled from Quest Diagnostics Inc.