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News Every Day |

A record-breaking number of Americans are testing positive for weed on employment drug tests

weed marijuana smoking drugs cannabis

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More American workers than ever are testing positive for cannabis use on drug tests, according to a report from Quest Diagnostics, one of the country's largest drug-testing labs.

Data from Quest's 2020 report showed the results of more than 7 million drug tests, and found 2.7% came back positive for weed. In 2019, 2.5% of Quest's tests were positive for weed, and in 2016 2% were positive, the Wall Street Journal reported.

As more states legalize cannabis for adult and medicinal purposes, the substance has become more widely used. As a result, some employers are skipping cannabis drug tests altogether, or letting a positive result for cannabis slide, in order to secure more job candidates.

"We haven't really seen a change in the overall testing rate, but we've been seeing changes in the degree to which marijuana is included in the testing panels," Dr. Barry Sample, Quest Diagnostics' senior director for science and technology, told Wall Street Journal.

Jobs that require extensive safety measures, like trucking, mass transit, and railroads, are mandated to test their employees, either during the interview process, randomly during workers' tenures, or after suspicious incidents.

But for restaurant and other service industry workers, a positive cannabis test doesn't necessarily mean they'll be shut out of a job opportunity.

In 2015, when Hospitality Ventures Management Group decided to open a new hotel location in Denver, Colorado where recreational cannabis is legal, company executives decided to skip cannabis testing for applicants.

"It was part of the practical nature of wanting to be an attractive employer in that downtown Denver market,"  Susan M. Sanders, the company's chief human resources officer, told Wall Street Journal of the company's decision.

6.3% of hospitality workers tested positive for cannabis in 2020, Quest Diagnostics found.

Sanders added that cannabis can be "part of what people do when they're not working that isn't going to carry over into the workday."

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