Number of employees testing positive for marijuana use spikes

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Quest Diagnostics indicates a slight increase in the number of workers who test positive for marijuana

Although marijuana is now legal in a number of states, many jurisdictions are still scrambling to introduce controls that would prevent employees from facing the ax if they test positive in drug tests. There has been an increase in the number of employees who have tested positive, the majority of which are found in the obvious states where legal marijuana use is allowed. According to a recent report generated by Quest Diagnostics, workplace drug tests show that 2.6% of the overall workforce tested positive for marijuana in 2017.

The increase wasn’t substantial. In 2016, 2.5% of the workforce tested positive for marijuana. Among the leading states last year were Nevada – 43%, Massachusetts – 14% and California with 11%. The number increased across all work sectors, including safety-sensitive jobs such as bus drivers, pilots and some federal workers. In fact, the largest jump was among the latter group, having jumped from 0.78% in 2016 to 0.84% in 2017.

The results of the study by Quest show that testing positive has risen steadily for the five-year period from 2013-2017. However, the firm asserts that it may be impetuous to call it a trend. Quest’s senior director of science and technology, Barry Sample, Ph.D., stated, “While it is too early to tell if this is a trend, our data suggests that the recreational use of marijuana is spilling into the workforce, including among individuals most responsible for keeping our communities safe.”