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Navigating the murky waters of legal marijuana and pre-employment drug screening

by | May 9, 2023 | Wellness Blog: Drug Screens

Marijuana Leaf Balls and Vape Pen

As of April 2023, forty states have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana despite the federal government’s continued designation of cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance. In most of the country, employers can still require testing for THC as a condition of employment.<sup>1</sup>

For example, in California, where recreational marijuana is legal for adults, employers are still permitted to conduct pre-employment drug screenings and terminate employees who test positive for THC, as long as the testing complies with state laws and regulations.2 Similarly, in Colorado, one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, employers can still enforce drug-free workplace policies and require drug testing as a condition of employment.3

As of April 2023, forty states have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana despite the federal

The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates drug testing for employees in safety-sensitive positions such as commercial drivers, pilots, and railroad operators. DOT drug testing requirements include pre-employment testing, random testing, reasonable suspicion testing, post-accident testing, and follow-up testing. Marijuana is one of the five drugs in the DOT screen; the others are cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and phencyclidine (PCP).

The detection window for THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in urine & saliva can vary depending on several factors, including the frequency and amount of use, individual metabolism, and the sensitivity of the drug test. According to a review of studies published in the journal “Forensic Science International,” chronic users of cannabis may test positive for THC in urine for up to 30 days after last use, while occasional users may test positive for up to 10 days.4 However, it’s worth noting that some people may test positive for longer periods, especially those who use high doses or have a slower metabolism.5
If you are worried about passing a looming drug test, you can pre-test with 4U Health’s Urine and Saliva Drug Tests. We use the same sensitive and accurate technology as employer and DOT-mandated screening. We’ll ship you a kit with everything you need to collect a sample. Mail it back to the lab with a pre-paid shipping label and within 48 hours you will know if you are ready to test for employment.

1National Conference of State Legislatures. (2022). Marijuana Overview
2California NORML. (n.d.). Employment Rights
3Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. (2022). Workplace Drug Testing.
4Huestis, M. A. (2007). Human cannabinoid pharmacokinetics. Chemistry & Biodiversity
5Lowe, R. H. (2021). Cannabis drug testing: Current methods and emerging technologies