- A tight labor market, combined with an increasing number of state laws legalizing marijuana, means it might be time for employers to rethink their drug policies, says Andrew Challenger, vice president of the global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
- Opting not to test workers for marijuana can save employers money on testing and give them access to a wider labor pool, he said in a press release. "While it is good policy to ban drugs and alcohol in the workplace, what workers do after hours — as long as it does not impair the company’s operations or productivity, or otherwise do harm — should not have any bearing on how workers are viewed by their employers."
- One in eight people in the U.S. smoke marijuana, says Challenger, Gray & Christmas, citing a Gallup poll. Turning a blind eye to marijuana use may not be practical for every company or role, Challenger noted, but employers may have to consider such actions as the marijuana industry continues to grow.
States are increasingly legalizing both the recreational and medical use of marijuana to keep pace with changing attitudes about the drug.
And earlier this month, Maine became the first state to prohibit employers from discriminating against employees because they use marijuana outside of work. The state also removed marijuana from the list of substances for which employers may test. Maine employers may still ban employees from using or possessing marijuana in the workplace and may discipline employees who are under the drug's influence at work.
In light of these and other changes, it makes sense that employers may be thinking about relaxing their rules as a way to combat the tight labor market. As Challenger noted, this won't be possible for every job at every employer but, for some, it may be one more option for chipping away at the skills gap.