In an article for The Washington Post, Dr. Robert L. DuPont, a former White House Drug Czar, says that while cannabis continues to become legal in many places in the United States, employers should continue to drug test employees anyway.
Workplace drug testing has been successful
Dr. DuPont cites that workplace drug testing is a practice that is generally successful, as it has resulted in employers reporting “higher productivity, less absenteeism, lower employee turnover, and declines in workers’ compensation claims.” He also highlights what we have been saying in this website over and over again: employers have a legal obligation to provide employees safe and healthy environments, and drug tests helps them achieve that goal.
Federal law supersedes state law
He also has some advice for employers in the United States who are under the jurisdiction of states that have legalised cannabis for medical or recreational use: continue to drug test employees, update their drug testing policies and procedures so that expectations for employees are clear. The reason? Even if state laws say cannabis is legal, federal law says otherwise. Cannabis sale and use remain illegal under federal law everywhere in the United States, and when they conflict, federal law will always supersede state law.
This has actually been one of the problems foreseen by many employers when cannabis was legalised in a number of states. We wholeheartedly agree with Dr. DuPont’s recommendation though. Employers should continue to drug test employees regardless of state law, as long as they’re for the purpose of providing safe and healthy working environments for all employees. And if should cannabis legalisation should ever happen in Australia, Dr. DuPont’s advice remains a wise one as far as employers are concerned.
Click here to read the full article.