State marijuana legalization brings up new questions in hiring

is actually legal — it creates a confusing situation. Should an applicant be denied a job in another state because he or she utilizes a drug that is legal in the state in which he or she resides? One problem is that THC — the active ingredient in cannabis — can stay in the body for weeks or months after using the drug. “If you’re a heavy smoker, you may never test below the limit, even thought you might not be impaired,” wrote Tony Coder, assistant director for the Drug Free Action Alliance in Columbus, Ohio. Some employers choose to keep existing drug policies in place regardless of whether the applicant is coming from a state where the drug is legal, as even some employers in those states have zero-tolerance drug policies. “We treat all employees the same [regardless of where they’re from],” said Mike Godwin, Human Resources VP for Eggleston Services, a hiring agency in Virginia. “It is a drug-free environment. Until the Commonwealth of Virginia decides to make a change, we wouldn’t make a change ourselves.” Because the issue of marijuana legalization is such a gray area at this time, employers should make sure that existing drug-testing policies are followed consistently, regardless of where the applicant is from. Officially, marijuana usage is illegal by federal law, but the administration has allowed the states to determine for themselves whether they want the drug legalized in their own states.]]>

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