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Nearly half the states have legalized medical cannabis as of April 2015, and four now allow marijuana for recreational use. As an employer, you may feel nervous about this trend, wondering whether off-hours marijuana use has negative effects on workers. Requiring random drug testing for your current employees could be a worthwhile step if you want to make sure your workforce stays drug-free.
The Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace notes numerous negative effects of marijuana use, such as:
As with tobacco, regular smoking of marijuana can cause lung disease. These effects not only pose potential problems in your workplace, but can drive up costs involved with employee turnover and health issues.
Authors of a study published in 2011 explain that marijuana use has negative effects on decision making, problem solving, organization and memory. The effects are connected with the length of time a person has been using the drug, the amount used and at what age this individual started the habit.
Research appearing in 2013 found that marijuana use is connected with abnormally low dopamine levels in the brain. This neurotransmitter is important for motivation and goal-driven behavior.
The Possibility of Drug Testing
If you don't already drug-test job applicants you want to hire, begin this practice as an effective way of screening out current marijuana users. This has become commonplace among larger organizations, but small business owners don't always make the investment. The human body stores the active ingredient in cannabis in fat cells until those cells are burned during metabolism. Thus, drug testing can often indicate whether a person uses marijuana even on an occasional basis.
If you're interested in beginning random drug testing of your employees, consult an attorney about the legal aspects. Not all states allow this type of testing for all types of employees. Even if your state is restrictive about drug testing, you probably can still require testing for employees who perform work with an inherent safety risk, such as operating mechanical equipment.
In states where medical marijuana is legal, you cannot legally terminate employees who have a prescription for the drug. Once you find out any limitations on drug testing for your particular workplace, you can contact health care clinics in your area to learn the details of this service.Share