With the 2014 election behind us and marijuana legalization passed in Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia, many employers are probably wondering how new legal changes will affect workplace drug testing programs.
Others may think that marijuana legalization supports the idea that cannabis is a harmless substance for workers to use.
Marijuana does have an impact on the workplace and your employees’ health, though. Here are the details on why employers should make drug testing a priority in the wake of widespread marijuana legalization.
Marijuana Legalization Could Spell Trouble For Your Workplace
Marijuana: Not So Harmless
Proponents of marijuana legalization often say marijuana causes no harm to users, despite the fact that research has shown the opposite. Marijuana use has been linked to increased risk for heart disease, mental illness, lung disease, stroke, and cancer. Furthermore, a recent study found that adolescents and young adults who use marijuana actually change their brain structures, causing permanent damage and loss of IQ. And according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA, side effects of marijuana use have led to many more trips to the emergency room than all other substances.
Marijuana legalization means that your employees will be able to smoke in their free time. Even if they’re not permitted to use cannabis at the work-site, their off-the-clock marijuana usage could still impair them when they’re on the job. Studies have shown that impairment due to marijuana use lasts a minimum of 24 hours, with longer impairment lengths for more significant THC levels.
The strong THC strains available in today’s cannabinoids — including synthetic and wax forms of marijuana — can produce physiological dependence and withdrawal issues (such as irritability, hyperactivity, nausea, and loss of appetite), even going so far as to require substance abuse treatment in 1 in 6 adolescent users and 1 in 10 adult users. The National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that 4.5 million Americans were dependent upon or abusing marijuana, meaning marijuana users accounted for over 63% of illicit drug users.
Don’t Let Marijuana Legalization Disrupt Your Workplace Drug Testing
Make sure your workforce is drug-free with testing by Test Smartly Labs. We can help you navigate the changing drug testing landscape, ensuring you stay up-to-date with all regulations amidst marijuana legalization.
To get started, find your nearest Test Smartly Labs today!