Recreational use of marijuana has now been legalized in ten states and for medical use in 33. Indiana has not legalized marijuana for either use and the current governor is not promoting its legalization.
So what’s the conundrum? In some states getting high on the weekend or after work is O.K., but there are no places where working under the influence of marijuana is acceptable. Indiana law still considers marijuana use to be illegal, and any amount in an employee’s system is grounds for termination.
Determining When Someone is Impaired
But as the legal landscape for marijuana use continues to change, what are the challenges and potential solutions to address marijuana use when an employee is on the job. Trying to determine if a worker is “impaired” is an important step in defining new marijuana testing procedures. There are currently no guidelines on what is considered impaired. Because marijuana remains in a user’s system for weeks, depending on how recent the use, a worker’s ability to do their job safely and effectively may be impacted.
Detecting Recent Marijuana Use
The need to continue to test for drug use is still extremely important, although the legalization of marijuana raises a number of key questions as to how to do marijuana testing. Marijuana remains in a user’s system for several weeks which makes it highly likely with today’s primary testing methods, hair and urine, that someone using marijuana will be detected.
As laws change and recreational and medical marijuana use grows, how do employers address the much higher chance that someone at work will test positive for having marijuana in their system? The graph shows how long each testing method will detect marijuana.
Trying to test for more “recent use” is becoming more common. Knowing if someone used marijuana in the last 2 – 3 days is more relevant when assessing if someone is impaired on the job.
Lab-Based Oral Fluid Testing
Lab-based oral fluid testing is a proven and effective testing method that can detect “recent use” and determine if an employee is currently under the influence. This form of marijuana testing detects parent THC in as little as 15 minutes after use and continues detecting THC for up to two days post-use. This uncovers individuals who could present a safety risk in the workplace.
Because of the uncertainty of current laws some employers are deciding to forgo testing for marijuana. This is not a good option. Not only can it lead to potential safety risks at the workplace, but it can also lead to inevitable lawsuits should an accident occur that otherwise might have been avoided by testing for marijuana.
Blackbird Clinical Services would be happy to discuss your marijuana testing options. Blackbird Clinical offers oral fluid testing that may be an effective way to address concerns. Oral fluid testing is easy, quick and less expensive than other testing methods.
Just give us a call at 765-447-8700, or send me an email at KHathaway@blackbirdclinicalsvs.com and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.