industries that drug test the most
industries that drug test the most

4 Industries to Avoid If You Can't Pass a Surprise Drug Test

Which industries drug test their employees the most in the US?

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Tuesday Mar 22, 2022

industries that drug test the most

Which Industries Drug Test Their Employees The Most? Data Based on a Report by The Feds!


Even though a majority of Americans now support the legalization of cannabis, workplace drug testing still isn’t keeping up with the times.


We are now living in the age of marijuana reform yet the consequences for testing positive in job drug tests or zero tolerance policies are simply no longer feasible. The conventional cannabis testing methods which usually take urine, oral fluid, or hair samples don’t tell employers whether employees have consumed cannabis recently, so it also doesn’t give employers the data that they need in order to make just decisions about cannabis use by employees.


The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a federal government agency, has just released a report stating that drug testing at workplaces in the United States have already decreased significantly within the last few years, reports Marijuana Moment. This is timely since more states have ended cannabis prohibition, so the information seems apt for the times. However, there are still numerous industries that are screening their employees, and the report shares which ones do the most and least.


Their report was released as part of a project designed to gauge industry response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also marks the first time since 1996 that the BLS has surveyed employers regarding their drug testing policies although since then, around three-quarters of US states have already legalized the use of medical cannabis while over a third have already approved recreational use of the drug. The good news is that drug screening is now less frequent in states where cannabis has been legalized.


For the new report, the polls were sent to around 317,000 establishments around the United States though just over 80,000 workplaces sent in responses that could be used in the findings. But unlike their other surveys, employers were asked to provide answers to questions online, and didn’t make use of an interviewer.


The data shows that in 1996, some 30% of the workplaces included in the survey screened for drugs, while 14% screened for alcohol consumption. With the new results, 16.1% of participating companies reported to screening for drugs and/or alcohol. It was interesting to note that the industries that had the lowest rates of drug testing, which were accommodation and food services, information, entertainment, education, and financial services. On the other hand, the industries that tested far more than other were transportation and warehousing, including the trucking industry which is regulated by the federal government.


Last year, a survey conducted by Farah and Farah asked 1,000 employees regarding the drug testing policies at their workplace. Sixty percent of respondents reported that the attitudes of their employer surrounding drug testing didn’t change after cannabis was legalized, though 21% said that they were not sure if the substance use policy of their employer changed after legalization.


The survey responses found that in most industries, employers tested for drugs before employment but in most industries including government, retail, and construction, it was normal for businesses to conduct random drug tests. Finance and technology, as well as other industries


Should Companies Stop Drug Testing For Marijuana?


One can’t help but wonder if pre-employment drug testing, or randomized and current drug testing in the workplace, still serves its purpose. After all, most states have already legalized cannabis so it’s high time that employers think about the future of their valued employees especially if they still have outdated drug testing regulations with consequences that are unjust.


The history of pre-employment drug testing dates back to the time of President Ronald Reagan, when the “war on drugs” began. During this time, it was a government mandate that federal employees be tested for drugs but it wasn’t long before the private sector followed their lead. By 1987, the Drug-Free Workplace Act was signed by President Reagan, a law that mandated employers and businesses who were receiving assistance from the federal government to put into place a strict, zero-tolerance drug policy should they want to continue benefiting from federal monies and grants.


Within a few years, drug testing before one was hired became the norm, and soon after, studies that were funded by the federal government as well as drug testing companies were published, mostly focusing on how drug testing was essential for workplace safety. Back then, it was commonplace for most people to believe that cannabis was harmful.


Fast-forward to current times, and now we can see that those values are antiquated at best. The professional landscape is changing quickly as more people are relying on cannabis to function, improve their quality of life, and in fact many people even work better when they are on THC or CBD. Pre-employment drug testing has been banned outright in three states: New York City, Nevada, and Philadelphia yet employers in other states can still test for cannabis.


They aren’t forced to comply with drug testing regulations set forth by the government though some states already have laws in place that have specific considerations for those jobs which are safety-sensitive, such as those that require employees to operate machinery or vehicles for their jobs.


Last summer, retail giant Amazon announced that they would stop testing their employees for cannabis in light of a dwindling labor market as well as compliance issues with more states legalizing cannabis. Hopefully, more private employers follow even if their industry isn’t tackling labor shortages. This trend is essential to creating a workplace that is more equitable and fair especially for those who  rely on cannabis for their own health and wellbeing.

It also goes on to say that there is no purpose in keeping the criminal element within the situation. Companies must stop the practice and culture of not hiring an applicant just because they tested positive, and in the same light, firing someone or giving repercussions should they test positive during a random drug test.








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