Written By Lauren Lind
How well do you know the laws behind the legalization of marijuana as it pertains to your job search? Smoking and possessing marijuana is still a federal crime and can prohibit you in your job search. “It is important to note that Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime” (www.whitehouse.gov). State laws in both Washington and Colorado support employers, especially in the case of drug testing. Colorado’s Amendment 64 states that the new law does not prohibit employers from continuing to test their employees: “Nothing in this section is intended … to affect the ability of employers to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees.” (Halverson ecmweb.com).
So what does this mean for you in your job search? This means that marijuana use can be the reason you don’t get offered a job or the reason you get fired. Medical marijuana use has resulted in the firing of certain employees in Colorado when they have tested positive. If courts ruled in favor of employers under medical marijuana circumstances, chances are courts will rule of favor of employers when it comes to recreational use of marijuana.
The likelihood of getting drug tested depends on the field, but if you are working with machinery, heavy equipment or applying with military defense companies, you are more likely to go through drug testing as opposed to someone who is working as a department store clerk.
Whether you are planning to settle down in Colorado or any other state, be aware of the consequences of testing positive for marijuana on a drug test. If you plan on interning or working at a dispensary consider the consequences for your future aspirations. Even though you may test negative for marijuana, some employers may not hire you due to your affiliation. It’s all about perception and it may not mesh well with their company values. Even if you exclude this information on your resume or application, it will still show up in your background check, so be honest.
Keep in mind that even though amendment 64 passed here in CO, testing positive can cause you to lose your job or not be considered for many jobs. Is it worth it?
Hat tip: www.whitehouse.gov and Matthew Halverson with ecmweb.com