Report: Positive workforce marijuana tests reach 25-year high

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 10:52 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) – A new report has found that positive marijuana tests in the workforce are on the rise, and drug testing policies may become less strict for some workers.

A new report from Quest Diagnostics, a medical lab and testing company, has found the number of employees in the general workforce that have tested positive for marijuana reached a 25-year high in 2022, but that doesn’t necessarily mean people are out of the job market.

“While we have seen an increase in usage of marijuana, even if it’s legal in many states across the country and the District of Columbia, we’ve also seen a similar trend for employers nationwide where they are having less stringent drug testing policies both for prescreening and for existing workers,” said Ryan Hundt, the CEO of the MI Works Association.

As more and more states begin to legalize marijuana, the number of employees testing positive has increased.

However, Hundt said this does not necessarily mean those looking for work will not be able to find a job, or that those already employed will lose theirs.

“What we have seen is that there have been a number of other workplaces that are no longer testing for or turning an eye in the case of a positive test for prescreening or for existing employees,” Hundt said.

Now, Michigan may join the club. The Civil Service Commission is considering a proposal ending drug testing for state government workers, but not all workers.

“There are still some exemptions. So, the Michigan State Police, for example, or the Department of Corrections would likely still be subject to their existing drug testing policies,” Hundt said.

Although marijuana is legal in Michigan, it remains a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, so it is prohibited for federal workers.

For marijuana users who plan to apply for jobs not connected to state government, Hundt recommends they do a little research first.

“When it comes to applying for positions, they need to make sure that the position that they are applying for, they should also understand the drug testing policies and procedures of the employers themselves,” Hundt said.

According to Quest Diagnostics, in 2022, the post-accident marijuana positive tests in the general workforce was 7.3 percent, a 9 percent increase compared with the 6.7 percent in 2021.

The comment period on the proposal runs through June 23.

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