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Guest Post: The One Big Reason Drug Screening Still Matters
One only need to look at Colorado to see the financial windfall states can receive by legalizing recreational marijuana. In its fiscal year post-legalization, it cleared almost $70 million in tax revenue. That was more than the tax revenue from alcohol sales. It’s surprising more states haven’t followed suit, but there’s another side to the story. What happens to pre-employment drug screening, or random drug tests on the job?
While I’d prefer the legalization of recreational marijuana over, say, taxing my Netflix usage, the question gives me pause. Technically speaking, marijuana is an illegal substance.
When Human Logic Meets Federal Law
Under federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is any drug, substance or chemical that currently has no “accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule 1 drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”
While you can point to research today that strongly demonstrates marijuana does have medical use, that one word, “accepted,” is a showstopper.
What does that even mean? Accepted by whom? Obvious answer: the public. How? Votes. So far, 23 states and the District of Columbia have voted in favor of medical marijuana. The public in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington demonstrated its acceptance of recreational marijuana through votes.
So in states that have legalized recreational marijuana, does that make drug testing, in those states, meaningless? Logic says yes.
Alas, the courts say otherwise.
The courts, so far, have said such drug tests do mean something. When a drug policy that meets federal guidelines is in place, then that employer can dismiss an employee for testing positive for marijuana, regardless of state law.
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