As of June 18, 2021, as this could change at any time, 37 states allow the medical use of marijuana, and 18 states permit the adult use of marijuana.[1] Many employers, and undoubtedly multi-state employers, are struggling with new rules that impact their operations. What do these new rules mean for workplace drug testing programs?  Should employers continue testing for marijuana? – can they?

A year after the pandemic, the 25th Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) Compliance Institute took place virtually this past week. As the healthcare industry adapts to the new normal, HCCA’s conference provides an opportunity for compliance professionals to learn about the latest developments and priorities from regulators.

survey from the Current Consulting Group (CCG) reports that since the start of the pandemic in 2020, 21% of employers have reported a drop of 61% or more in the number of drug tests that they perform on employees. There are combined factors in play, including high unemployment rates, but the majority of the decline resulted from concern about workplace drug testing safety and COVID-19 precautions.

Workplace drug testing has been around for more than forty years in the U.S.  At the start, drug testing was all about compliance with federal rules and has since evolved with state-specific laws and case laws that employers also need to follow. The primary goal of these rules is to maintain safety in our workplaces.

On December 4th, 2020, the House of Representatives approved the MORE Act (Marijuana Opportunity and Expungement Act), a bill that would end the federal prohibition of marijuana in the United States. In the first significant Congressional action relating to marijuana since the original passage of marijuana prohibition back in 1937, lawmakers passed the historic Bill by a vote of 228-164. 

Positivity rates for employment drug testing reached a 16-year high in 2019, according to recent data collected and reported by Quest Diagnostics[1]. The overall positivity rate in the combined U.S.

On May 21, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation that decriminalizes marijuana possession, joining a majority of states that have ceased treating the drug as a criminal offense. Here’s what employers in Virginia need to know about these changes once they go into effect on July 1.

As it stands today, 33 states and Washington D.C. have authorized the medical use of marijuana. Eleven of those states and Washington, D.C also allow the personal ‘adult-use’ of marijuana.  With 2020 being a presidential election year, efforts to include marijuana on this years’ ballot are rampant! While most of the past marijuana laws where approved by a majority vote of the people, a trend that we expect to see more are legalization efforts through state Legislature actions. 

With legal marijuana use laws continuing to make traction throughout the U.S., and the perception of a dwindling job applicant pool, some employers are asking if they should continue to conduct screening for marijuana. Some employers are also challenging the entire idea of performing drug testing in their workplaces.  Is there still a benefit to having a drug-free workplace program?

In short, the answer is, “YES!”  Why? Because the risks of not testing are real. There is no mystery why this is so, look at the latest statistics:

Ringing in a new year brings new requirements for employers managing their workplace drug and alcohol screening programs. From state-specific laws to changes at the federal level, it is critical to understand these changes and make the appropriate internal adjustments to ensure your compliance.

State Laws

Several states, and one city, have new laws that employers must comply with here in the new year. Below is a summary of the significant changes:

Illinois

Pages