Which Industries Drug Test Workers The Least, The Most? Federal Report Tells All

Which Industries Drug Test Workers The Least, The Most? Federal Report Tells All

With nearly three-quarters of all U.S. states now allowing for legalized medical marijuana and more than a third having given the green light to adult-use cannabis, the plant is quickly becoming mainstream and destigmatized.

Still, issues such as discrimination in the workplace against those who consume marijuana still exist, with lawmakers trying to find a middle ground in terms of cannabis and employment laws.

For example, a new bill recently approved by the Illinois House of Representatives earlier this month seeks to prohibit most employers from firing workers or discriminating against job applicants for testing positive for marijuana use.

This workplace protection legislation, sponsored by Rep. Bob Morgan (D) seeks to protect workers who use lawful products off the job during nonworking hours and when the employee is not on call. The bill is headed to the Senate.

Still, exceptions to the rule exist, such as employees who operate heavy machinery or aircraft, carry a weapon, perform emergency services or other safety-sensitive tasks and workers at entities that are contractors of the f federal Dept. of Transportation.

The Prairie State legalized medical cannabis in 2015, expanded legalization to recreational marijuana in 2020, and has just started to tackle the issue of cannabis and employment laws.

What about people in states that are still establishing their cannabis programs?

A new federal labor report released last month showed that establishments in states with legal cannabis tend to screen workers less. Approximately 317,000 across the country were asked, with usable responses received from over 80,000 workplaces.

The findings provided information on practices by private employers nationwide, analyzed by the size of the facility, industry sector and state, Marijuana Moment reported.

Which Industries Drug Test Workers The Most And The Least?

The transportation and warehousing and the utilities sectors both had testing rates far higher than the rest.

Transportation and warehousing was the only business category in which over half of establishments said they screened for drugs.

On the other side of the spectrum are accommodation and food services, arts, entertainment and recreation, information, educational services and financial activities all with the lowest testing rates.

Interestingly, employers in the utilities sector reduced drug testing during the pandemic the most, even though they did not stop screening entirely.

Smaller facilities tend to screen for drugs less than workplaces with between 20 and 100 people, where 34.7% required screening.

Drug Testing Rates At U.S. Workplaces Decline

A U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, which is part of a project to measure business response to the pandemic, seemingly represents the first time since 1996 that a workforce fact-finding agency surveyed employers about drug screening.

Compared to 1996, when 30% of all surveyed worksites said they tested for drugs and 14 percent said they screened for alcohol, the new survey revealed that only 16.1% of those surveyed tested for drugs and/or alcohol.

The report also found that 8 out of 10 states with the lowest percentage of establishments drug testing have legal recreational marijuana. Among the 10 states with the highest screening rates, meanwhile, not one has legalized cannabis.

Photo: Courtesy of Testalize.me on Unsplash

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