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Marijuana and Background Check Drug Testing

 In Background Checks, BLOG

Marijuana and Background Check Drug Testing

Recreational use of marijuana is now legal in nine states–Alaska, California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Colorado, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. This means that 20 percent of the nation’s workforce is permitted to smoke for pleasure. Meanwhile, 29 states have authorized the use of medical marijuana to authorized individuals. What does this mean for background checks that include a drug test component?

Click here to download your free chart outlining the current laws for marijuana use by state!

Many drug tests, especially five-panel tests, include a check for marijuana. Five-panel tests are the most common kind of drug tests conducted in pre-employment background screenings. If applicants are being tested for use of this drug, how can companies with a footprint in many states handle positive drug test results?

Some large companies are increasingly opting out of drug testing in states where it is now allowed recreationally. In certain instances, they may continue to drug test in other states where they have employees if it is not legal there. Issues arise, of course, when it comes to states where recreational use is not permitted but medical use is. How can background screeners determine with accuracy whether someone has medical authorization for the drug?

According to a report by the Federal Reserve, many companies cite difficulties with applicants passing background checks as a key roadblock in filling positions. This is no surprise, as failed drug tests reached an all-time high in 2017. With unemployment at four percent, some businesses are realizing that they could benefit from overlooking certain things, such as recreational drug use, when hiring.

What can companies do to vet employees if they aren’t using drug testing? A thorough background screening can include employment verifications; education verifications; federal, statewide, countywide, and national criminal searches; Office of Foreign Asset Control searches; and department of motor vehicles checks. All of this information, when viewed cohesively, can be used to get the whole picture of an applicant and their suitability for a role.

Whether or not your company currently uses drug testing or plans to continue doing so, a thorough background investigation is always a good idea. Alliance Risk Group is well versed in background investigations for a variety of industries and can help you to mitigate risk when it comes to your potential hires and current staff. Contact us today!

To read more about background checks and how they can help mitigate risk in your industry, click here.

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