Yo, what’s good? It looks like Washington state is about to hop on the weed train and ban pre-employment drug tests for cannabis, homies. The state is realizing that THC detection ain’t a reliable way to measure if someone is impaired or not ’cause weed can stay in your system for a long-ass time. So, they’re dropping the tests, and it’s about freakin’ time.
Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) sponsored Senate Bill 5123, which could change the game for drug tests in the state. She said that locking people outta jobs because of pre-employment cannabis tests is straight-up discrimination against people who use a legal substance, many of whom use it for medical reasons. And you know what? She’s right.
This legislation would mean that qualified job applicants who otherwise would’ve been denied a job because of a drug test can now apply without being judged. And with millions of jobs left unfilled due to the pandemic, this bill could be exactly what we need to get people working again.
But don’t worry, y’all. Employers can still maintain drug-free workplace policies and random drug testing after hiring people. And if they suspect someone is high on duty or there’s been an accident at work, they can still test for cannabis. Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia) isn’t too happy about this bill, though. He thinks we should tweak drug tests instead of banning them completely.
The original version of the bill had exemptions like applicants in the airline industry or those applying for federally regulated positions that require drug testing. But Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima) added more exemptions to the bill. Employers won’t be able to test for cannabis in pre-employment drug tests for safety-sensitive jobs where impairment could cause death, but they’ll have to tell applicants if they test positive for weed.
Now, let’s talk science for a minute. The Spokesman-Review reported that cannabis metabolites can last up to 30 days or more after usage, but cognitive impairment can only last from three to 10 hours, according to a 2021 study by the University of Sydney. Researchers found that drug testing for cannabis isn’t the best way to measure impairment ’cause it’s hard to find an objective measure of recent cannabis use that correlates with impairment, ya feel?
Some states have laws where there are legal limits on the amount of THC a driver can have in their blood, much like the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration limit nationwide, but this study shows that those legal limits aren’t scientifically justifiable at the moment.
This bill still has a ways to go before it becomes law. It’ll have a public hearing in a House committee before going back to the Senate for a concurrence vote, and then it’ll head to the governor’s desk for his signature. But let’s hope it passes ’cause we know weed smokers need jobs just like anyone else, and pre-employment drug tests ain’t the move.