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Colorado Employers’ Opinions Relax on Employees Using Marijuana

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The Employers Council recently conducted a survey to gauge how Colorado employers feel about employees using marijuana. The survey found that there’s been an increase in reducing penalties for positive THC results. There are also fewer employers including marijuana in drug testing procedures.

The survey included 371 employers that do drug test, The Gazette said. Of those surveyed, 9% have relaxed their drug testing policy in regards to marijuana. Just after Colorado legalized recreational use, 21% said they were stiffening their marijuana testing policies.

Attorney for the Employers Council, Curtis Graves, said, “The numbers would probably be even more (tilted) toward relaxation of testing policies if you exclude trucking companies and other employers who are required to test employees. With a 3.5 percent unemployment rate, employers are finding it difficult to hire staff with testing in place, especially in the hospitality industry.”

Those injured while at work will still have to submit to a full drug screening, which includes marijuana. It could cause trouble for workers’ compensation benefits – even though marijuana is legal in the state.

The survey also shows that employers who do still test for marijuana and give penalties for positive results are using other means of punishment. The alternative “punishments” include rehabilitation, mandatory treatment and/or probation. Some have no penalty.

Terminations for positive drug tests has dropped to 48% from 53% in the last 4 years.

Denver has the least amount of employers that drug test.

The highest testing rates are in:

  • Colorado Springs
  • Western Slope area
  • Pueblo

There are no recreational marijuana sales permitted in Colorado Springs.

Marijuana drug testing is more likely in:

  • Construction jobs
  • Government jobs
  • Healthcare industry jobs
  • Manufacturing jobs

Marijuana drug testing is less likely in:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Finance industry
  • Retail industry

The survey included 57 Colorado Springs employers in the 636 employers that responded.