The industry with the most marijuana users? Food service
- In Colorado, marijuana use was highest in the accommodation and food service industries, said the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, citing a study released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Of the state's 10,169 workers, 14.6% were marijuana users; 30.1% of users were in the lodging and food services industries, and 32.2% in the food preparation and serving occupations.
- So far, 29 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing marijuana for recreational and/or medical use. With legalization spreading, employers and safety experts in those states have expressed concern about the drug's potential effect on employees' impairment in the workplace, including injuries and vehicle accidents.
- Marijuana use was lowest in industries where drug-testing is regularly conducted, including healthcare and social assistance (7.4%); utilities (5.8%); and mining, oil and gas (5.2%).
As more states legalize marijuana, some question whether routine drug testing remains necessary. More employers are reportedly scrapping drug tests for that reason, while others are rethinking their drug-testing policies to widen the pool of applicants in a tight labor market. Lowering eligibility standards might be necessary in industries struggling to find workers, such as accommodation and food services, where marijuana use is higher and safety is a lower concern.
However, in industries where physical and mental impairment could lead to serious accidents and injuries on the job, employers continue to maintain no-tolerance policies. But shifts at the federal and state levels promise to put employers in a somewhat confusing spot — and the opioid crisis has put a serious point on the broader issue.
In response, experts on the issue have suggested that employers take a second look at their drug policies, if nothing else to ensure they are comprehensive and responsive to current law. Some also recommend that employers move to a more "recovery friendly" workplace policy, as views on drug use change.
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Current Marijuana Use by Industry and Occupation — Colorado, 2014–2015