Maintaining drug-free workplaces has long been the rule for American industry. In fact, it’s mandatory under federal and state law in many instances. Now, given the reality of increasing marijuana legalization, assuring that its presence in the workplace and the impairment that it causes is prevented has become a critical concern for many employers. Never before have employers faced such widespread acceptance of behavior that’s so glaringly at odds with workplace safety. All told, 28 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana use in some form.
The trend is strongly favorable for even more widespread growth of such laws. In certain areas of the country, employers are already finding it difficult to hire people who can pass a pre-employment drug test. And once employees have been hired, many manufacturing employers are finding that substantial numbers of employees either fail random or post-accident drug screens, or simply quit if asked to take such a test. Although always a challenge, finding and keeping qualified and productive employees has become only more challenging.