There have been numerous jobs in my life that I would have been great at, and that I desperately needed at the time, but I couldn’t pass the pre-employment drug test because I knew I had marijuana in my system. I know that I’m not alone. Fortunately for Washington D.C. residents, arbitrary pre-employment drug testing for marijuana was banned by the D.C. Council this week. Per the DCist:
The D.C. Council unanimously passed temporary legislation yesterday that will prohibit an employer from drug-testing potential employees for marijuana before a conditional job offer has been made.
The bill, the “Prohibition of Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing Emergency Act of 2014” was introduced by Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-At Large) in March of this year, and explicitly states that an employer cannot test a potential employee for marijuana use until after an offer for employment has been made. After an employee has been hired, however, they “must still adhere to the workplace policies set forth by their employer.”
The bill still allows employers to require a drug test after employment has been offered, so applicants still run the risk of not getting the job. However, that denial of employment due to a failed UA will only come after the job has been offered. I’d love to see how many employers get as far as screening applicants, determining which one is the best fit, offering the position to what they feel is the best candidate, then have to grapple with a failed UA by said candidate. The candidate will have risen above everyone else, and employers will be forced to face their reefer madness fears and balance that against what seems in every way to be a qualified employee and the decision to retain that employee. From my experience, marijuana consumers can be very excellent employees. They shouldn’t be discriminated against solely because they choose to unwind with a substance that is far safer than alcohol or tobacco, two substances that most employers don’t deny employment for.