Weeding Out the Facts Webinar Recap

by Nicole Jupe on February 21, 2017

Employers face challenges as states continue to pass marijuana legislation, while the substance is still illegal under federal law.  In our recent webinar, two highly-regarded industry experts, Dr. Barry Sample, Senior Director of Science and Technology, Quest Diagnostics, and D. Faye Caldwell, Attorney at Law, Caldwell Everson, presented facts and insight about marijuana and the workplace for both the scientific and legal landscapes.

Some key takeaways from our webinar include:

  • Data indicated that marijuana use in general society is up. The increase is primarily driven by use among adults ages 26 years or older, according to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). Self-reported marijuana use in the employment sector is also increasing.
  • According the latest Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ report, nearly half (45 percent) of individuals in the general U.S. workforce with a positive drug test for any substance showed evidence of marijuana.
  • Research studies have shown that marijuana use can be impairing and can impact reaction times, concentration, task performance, and driving.
  • Twenty-nine states and D.C. have medical marijuana laws.
  • An additional fifteen states have low THC/high CBD (cannabidiol) laws for limited medical purposes, but the allowable levels of THC in the oils fluctuate (between none and up to 5%) by state.
  • There is limited research on the benefits of medical marijuana, although some funding has been allocated to study how marijuana impacts certain medical conditions.
  • In addition to the existing qualifying conditions in medical marijuana laws, a number of states have considered adding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, and substance abuse disorders as qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.
  • Marijuana laws are inconsistent and constantly changing. The laws can impact company drug testing policies and procedures, drug testing program administration, and how drug test results are handled.
  • Employment protections in current marijuana laws vary widely by state – ranging from explicitly providing no protections to being unclear to providing explicit protections – and employers may have a duty to accommodate off-duty usage. Most explicit employment protection laws have no exemption for “safety-sensitive” employees.
  • Eight states with medical marijuana have also passed recreational use laws, one of which has explicit employee protections.
  • “All of these medical and recreational use statutes probably impact only a very small number of employees at most employer locations,” said Dr. Sample.
  • Quest data shows that more than 99 percent of all urine workplace drug tests in the United States continue to include marijuana as a part of the drug testing panel despite state marijuana legislation.
  • A clearly written drug testing policy that complies with local and state laws remains paramount. The policy should detail who is tested, what drug test specimen type is used, and the consequences of a violation. Inform employees of the policy and consistently apply it across the entire workforce.

In conclusion, there are currently no restrictions on testing for marijuana. Furthermore, the current laws do not require an employer to accommodate on-duty drug use in the workplace or prohibit an employer from taking action if an employee is working under the influence of marijuana.

Based on the current marijuana laws, there is no good reason to stop drug testing for marijuana and risk giving up “valuable information for a handful of people who can impact your workforce and its safety,” according to Ms. Caldwell.

If you missed the live presentation, visit our webinars webpage to view to an on-demand recording and to watch other webinars bought to you by Quest Diagnostics.

Download our Marijuana Legislation by State infographic as a reference guide.

To learn more about marijuana, visit our website or contact us online.

I’m There: Carolyn Loza

by Nicole Jupe on February 14, 2017

Employers understand the serious consequences of alcohol and substance abuse. When an accident or emergency occurs at work, tensions can run high. Carolyn Loza remains committed to ensuring that all aspects of the drug testing process run smoothly, especially in stressful situations.

In this month’s feature of our “I’m There” series, Carolyn describes what we’re there when you need us means to her. Click here to read the full story.

Employer Solutions shares a commitment to being there when our clients and colleagues need us – at every possible opportunity. Through the unique stories from our team, you’ll get a more personal perspective of what that commitment means to them. To learn more about this series, read our introductory post.

For more information about Employer Solutions, visit our website or contact us online.


Revisions to Federal Workplace Drug Testing

February 10, 2017 Drugs & Alcohol

On January 23, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revised the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs. More specifically, the notice expanded federal urine workplace drug testing to include four Schedule II drugs: hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone. The effective date for the revised Guidelines is October 1, 2017. […]

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Winter Storm Niko May Cause Delays

February 9, 2017 Drug Testing

Severe snowstorm warnings are in effect for many parts of the northeastern United States. Winter storm Niko has brought heavy snow and high winds, which have created blizzard conditions in some areas. As a result, travel has become dangerous in many areas including Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia. Be aware that this hazardous storm […]

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Online Solutions New Website Content

February 7, 2017 Drug Testing

One of the most challenging problems we face as marketers is keeping our materials fresh, relevant, and engaging. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce the launch of our new and improved Quest Diagnostics Online Solutions web content. What’s new? We’ve audited and updated all of our online solutions web pages. You can […]

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Clarifying the New OSHA Post-Accident Drug Testing Regulations

February 3, 2017 Drug Testing

New regulations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses became effective on December 1, 2016. The regulations prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for reporting workplace injuries and illnesses (OSHA 29 CFR 1904). Although drug and alcohol testing was not mentioned in the Final Rule […]

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Sobering Facts about the Repeal of Obamacare

January 30, 2017 Drug Testing

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, has been one of the most contentious pieces of legislation in decades. While more than 20 million Americans are covered by the ACA, many have vocalized concerns over the cost and effectiveness of the legislation. With the outcome of November’s election, Congress and President Trump are working to […]

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DUI Rates in the U.S. Hit New Low

January 27, 2017 Drugs & Alcohol

Dating back decades, our society has brought awareness to the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and encouraged people to seek safe, sober transportation options. Research shows that alcohol as well as marijuana and other illicit substances weakens reaction times, motor skills, and perception and may lead to reckless driving and […]

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Data Shows Escalating Drug Use in the U.S. Workforce

January 24, 2017 Drug Testing

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index™ (DTI) is arguably the industry’s longest standing, most frequently relied upon resource for drug trends in the American workforce by policymakers, media, employers, and the general public. The DTI examines positivity by drug category, testing reason, and specimen type. Since its inception in 1988, this report has analyzed millions […]

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I’m There: Debbie Dervin

January 19, 2017 We're There

A central focus of Quest Diagnostics is helping employers to run effective, drug-free workplace programs from start to finish. With years of experience, Debbie Dervin knows that truly partnering with a client means advocating with passion on their behalf. In this month’s feature of our “I’m There” series, Debbie describes what we’re there when you need […]

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