Ed. Note: As the laws change, so do the way companies need to react to them Governments should too!
Although the Nevada Gaming Commission will not allow people stoned on marijuana to gamble in casinos, cannabis connoisseurs interested in securing gainful employment at some of these establishments may no longer need to concern themselves with trying to pass a drug screen.
Caesar’s Entertainment, which operates 50 casinos and hotels across the nation, recently eliminated marijuana from its pre-employment screening process. It is a bold move that could inspire more companies in the hospitality trade to make similar changes.
All across the nation, employers are being forced to reconsider testing potential job recruits for pot. Now that marijuana is legal in more than half the nation for medical and/or recreational use there are millions of legal pot smokers, which has made it difficult for factories, hotels and other businesses to find candidates who can pass a drug test.
A recent report from the Associated Press indicates that many hiring executives all over the country are well on their way to dropping marijuana from their testing phase in order to fill positions. Some have gone as far as to say that they cannot put enough people to work if they continue allowing weed to be a disqualifying factor.
This is the first time in 30 years that the national debate on drug testing has shifted away from marijuana. These days, it seems more companies are focused on job candidates who abuse harder drugs, like opioids and methamphetamine.
Caesar’s Entertainment is among those operations that no longer believe marijuana testing is necessary for every applicant. Rick Broome, vice president of communications at Caesar’s, said last week that the company would not test any more job candidates for pot unless they were applying for a position in transportation.
“We just felt that given the changes in laws that were happening across the country, it was prudent for us to take a different point of view on marijuana than other drugs in the pre-employment screening process,” he said.
But this policy change is not exactly a green light for new hires or long-time employees at Caesar’s to start showing up to work stoned. Broome says that despite the company’s new position, human resources will demand a drug screen if they have reason to believe that workers are high on the clock. At that point, anything showing up in the realm of THC-metabolites could put an employee’s job in jeopardy.
“[It’s] very different when you’re at work,” he said. “If you’re high at work, we will test. And if you have the presence of drugs in your blood stream, it can be cause for dismissal.”
This is not to say that drug testing for marijuana is not still prevalent in the United States. It is. Marijuana is still mostly illegal across the nation, especially in the eyes of the federal government, which gives companies the right to test for pot wherever they feel it is necessary.
In those states with no legal marijuana laws on the books, drug testing hasn’t changed. It is only in those jurisdictions where legal weed is now as much a part of everyday society as beer where employers are running into trouble. Yet, even in those places, like Colorado, workers can still be fired for submitting a positive drug screen for marijuana.
In legal marijuana states, which could include Michigan in November, companies that deal in labor-driven industries, such as hospitality and assembly line work, could become the most likely forefathers of change, according to the Associated Press. But those regulated industries that are still bound by the rules of the federal government, like aviation companies and those who work with heavy machinery, will have no choice but to keep marijuana testing in place until the time when pot is no longer an issue at the national level.
So far, Caesar’s Entertainment appears to be one of the only casino/hotels in Las Vegas to loosen its anti-pot policy for potential new hires. A report from Nevada Public Radio indicates that similar companies, including MGM Resorts, still test people for marijuana before offering them a job. Yet, Thoran Towler, CEO of the Nevada Association of Employers, says “one-tenth” of his organization’s members have had no choice but to stop testing for marijuana.
“They say, ‘I have to get people on the casino floor or make the beds, and I can’t worry about what they’re doing in their spare time,’” he explained.
TELL US, have you ever had to pass a drug test to get a job?
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