In the US you can be terminated for failing a drug test in a weed-legal state because marijuana is a schedule 1 substance according to the DEA. In Canada where it’s federally legal you can still be punished for using.
Imagine, you’ve completed your unpaid internship and delivered your last round of coffees. All those years of college and student loans have brought you to this point. You’ve nailed the interview and now dreams of home ownership and a pension dance in your head. You did everything right. You stayed in school and have graduated college and now a new promising career lies ahead. At the White House of all places.
Then you receive word you’ve been fired because you failed a drug test. That joint you smoked three weeks ago just cost you big time. I guess you should of just said no you flag burning hippie. Chalk up another win for freedom in the war on drugs.
In case you haven’t heard 5 employees were recently fired from the White House staff because of past marijuana use. The political implications will most likely be minor but it’s an unnecessary controversy because this doesn’t make any sense. Does marijuana pose a national security threat for staff working in the executive branch? Is this a competence issue? Is the federal government holding onto a stigma that using marijuana takes away your humanity and labels you as a dope fiend? Let’s not forget that recreational marijuana use is legal in Washington DC but it’s still illegal federally. It doesn’t matter but a funny little fact to keep in mind.
Have Companies Stopped Testing For THC?
The short answer is yes some of them have while the long answer is, it kind of depends. It depends on where you live and it depends on what industry you are seeking employment in. If you live in Canada then you are already riding a sugar high from all the maple syrup that flows like a river in each province. Aside from that you are also free from being arrested by law enforcement from smoking a pinner in the comfort of your home because enjoying recreational marijuana is the law of the land. That doesn’t mean marijuana use can’t complicate your employment.
Earning a living while driving transport trucks and smoking marijuana on your own time can perplex things. Smoking marijuana while driving transport trucks is a crime don’t do that. In the past regular drug tests would be administered to make sure the drivers have zero THC in their system. They would do hair samples because even if you got high off the devil’s lettuce months ago your hair will tell on you and show a positive result for THC. Now that marijuana is legal in Canada can you and should you still be tested for marijuana? If you are driving transport to the United States where marijuana is illegal on the federal level you are not permitted to drive on American highways. If you reside in Canada and test positive for THC you can be restrained from driving into the United States and are only allowed on Canadian highways. Anyone in the trucking industry knows that if you rely on hauling into the USA and that gets taken away from you, your income can suffer immensely.
In states where marijuana is legal there are laws that prohibit companies for testing for THC. For example, in Maine you are not allowed to test for THC period. In the great state of Maine it is illegal to fire or not hire someone based on a drug test that shows a positive result for marijuana.
According to the Denver Post as of 2019 half of Colorado companies who participated in a survey will no longer be testing employees for marijuana. This is another state where marijuana has been legal for a few years. While it’s a great trend there is still a lot of work to do in ironing out what legal marijuana means for workers in both the US , Canada and more recently Mexico. Unfortunately for truckers who haul cargo across the continent failing a drug test for marijuana use will still affect you due to the federal law in the US.
Why Is Marijuana Use Grounds For Dismissal?
It’s important to note that marijuana legality is still new and the rest of society has not caught up yet. Currently marijuana is a schedule 1 drug according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. That’s the same category as heroine, LSD and ecstasy. So do the drug’s effects have anything to do with it?
The problem with marijuana is that it can stay in your system for weeks or months depending on usage. If you smoked a joint two weeks ago you would still test positive for marijuana. Depending on your employers drug testing policy it might not matter how long ago you did it. If you did a few lines of coke last month and you partied like a Hollywood film executive you would still have a job because it doesn’t stay in your system as long.
Marijuana is grounds for dimissal because it is a schedule 1 substance according to the DEA and therefore associated with other hard drugs like coke and heroine. It poses a risk to your employment because THC stays in your system for much longer than other recreational drugs.
Pilots are High All The Time (get it?) Are They Still Tested?
Some un-educated fools might think that smoking (or vaping) a couple of times a month makes you a pot head. You are permanently brain damaged and you pose a safety to risk to yourself and your co-workers. Do you really feel safe on an airline knowing the pilot took a few bong hits two weeks ago? Even the night before? Obviously marijuana is a slippery slope so if that pilot hits the bong he must also do heroine. I’d prefer he did cocaine in order to stay awake the whole flight.
In the US of A the regulations state that no pilot can have any drugs in their system that can hinder their duties or pose a safety risk to themselves or others. It makes sense. However the rules do not state if it matters if you took the drug a long time ago. There’s a lot to unpack here. There a lot of factors and variables that combine to make common sense moot.
First of all marijuana is still illegal federally and as mentioned above, a schedule 1 drug according to the DEA. Therefore a pilot testing positive for THC could be treated the same as a pilot testing positive for heroine. I don’t know how many times marijuana activists and bloody scientists have to make this clear: marijuana is not the same as heroine and the slippery slope theory has been debunked numerous times. Due to the drug war that’s been happening since Nixon launched it, marijuana has ruined many lives. Not because of its effects but because of the nonsensical laws that resulted in lost jobs and incarcerations.
Secondly, marijuana being legal in your state means nothing. A federal agency like the FAA can use the fact that marijuana is illegal federally as a means to ground you forever. While more and more states are legalizing it until the federal government makes it legal for the whole country these outdated laws will still ruin lives.
Lastly, your pilot is better off doing harsher drugs because it doesn’t stay in your system as long. Cocaine can stay in your system for a few days or a couple of weeks if you’re a heavy user. Ecstasy sticks around for 4 days. THC can stay in your system for months. But here’s where common sense has to come into play. If you smoke a joint yesterday afternoon and you get a drug test in a month from now you can lose your job. The effects of marijuana should be taken into consideration and not painted with a broad brush that labels the user as a drug addict.
In Canada where marijuana is legal federally, pilots are not allowed to use cannabis 28 days before working. The same reason is given: pilots are not to use any drug that can compromise the safety of yadda yadda yadda. Before legalization it would make more sense that testing positive for marijuana should be grounds for suspension or termination. The drug was illegal and to procure the substance you would be breaking the law which last I check, not something you’d put on your resume. The problem now is, it is legal. Not 28 days before you fly means you’re not allowed to use at all. It’s not such a big deal if you only work once a month. The reason of compromising safety because you smoked a joint at a party on your own time is not a reason but a lie. Again, it is labelling honest people of consuming a legal substance as a drug addict that can’t be trusted. Brainwashed morons who think playing Dungeons and Dragons is a form of Satan worship and not a natural form of birth control are making these rules.
Hopefully this is a generational trend that will die off and cooler heads will prevail. Legal marijuana is a new law so there are some wrinkles to iron out. What about medical marijuana that’s been prescribed? Well that my friends is a blog post for another time.