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Oct. 1 Marks 1st Day of Legal Marijuana Sales In Oregon Which May Lead to Changes With Drug Screen Policies

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October 19, 2015 Return to News & Events

Oct. 1 Marks 1st Day of Legal Marijuana Sales In Oregon Which May Lead to Changes With Drug Screen Policies

On October 1, 2015 the first legal sales of recreational marijuana occurred in Oregon marking a significant step toward fully decriminalizing marijuana usage and possession. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: "With Colorado, Washington, and now Oregon allowing for the legal consumption of marijuana significant changes could occur with drug testing and screening as part of pre-employment policies."

On October 1, 2015 Oregon fully enacted a new law that allows for the recreational use of marijuana.

From (Oct. 01, 15):

Thursday is Day 1 for buying marijuana in Oregon just for fun...At midnight, dispensaries started selling recreational marijuana to customers 21 or older...Oregon is now the third state where marijuana can be legally purchased for recreational use, after Colorado and Washington... (1)

Legalizing marijuana for recreational use forces companies to re-examine drug screening policies.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: "Companies will continue to drug test but the question becomes at what acceptable level would the presence of a drug be allowed. Drug testing does not intentionally test for a current level of intoxication, rather it tests for recent or substantial use."

Generally there are only a few specific areas of employment that require drug testing. Most companies conduct these tests. Some reasons include:

  • To qualify for workers' compensation discounts.
  • To avoid legal liability.
  • To maintain productivity and save money. (2)

Almeida states: "There are very specific state and federal laws governing the application and use of drug screening as part of pre-employment hiring. The continued expansion of legalized recreational use of marijuana will increase confusion with hiring managers and companies with drug screening policies."

The use of medical marijuana has been in existance as policy for a far greater time than legalized recreational marijuana

. From (Date not provided):

If you live in one of these states and have a valid prescription for marijuana, you may be wondering whether an employer can refuse to hire you based on a positive drug test for this legally prescribed drug. So far, the answer seems to be yes. The California Supreme Court has ruled that the state's medical marijuana law applies only to criminal prosecution, not to the workplace. The Oregon Supreme Court also found against the employee in a medical marijuana case, but didn't decide the ultimate question of whether an employee who is using prescribed marijuana for a disability is entitled to an accommodation for his or her drug use. (3)

Further complicating the drug screening and the use of legalized marijuana is recent efforts by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and others to limit the use of criminal background checks as part of the hiring process and deleting the question of criminal history on applications.

Almeida states: "Criminal records continues to be a controversial topic, as does the so-called war-on-drugs. A great many criminal convictions occur or are directly caused by the use of drugs, including marijuana. Criminal histories are a highly controversial issue in hiring and the EEOC is cracking down on any apparent discrimination based on hiring practices.

From the Austin Chronicle (Oct. 09, 15):

It's true that the so-called "war on drugs" has caused a lot of nonviolent drug users to accrue criminal records and jail or prison time. But as drug addiction is now popularly accepted to be a disease, many people see drug use as less criminal than other offenses. However, for many people who struggle with addiction, their records don't include merely possession charges, but also charges for serious crimes related to drug use. (4)

Almeida states: "Clearly the legalization of recreational marijuana will cause a great deal of concern with employers and it is critical that they utilize a third-party pre-employment screening company well versed over the laws governing not only drug screening but all use of public records as part of the hiring process." is a third-party background screening company that offers a variety of drug testing and screening options for monthly billed clients. For more information please contact your representative today and they will provide with a range of options designed specifically for your company






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