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article imageFailed drug tests keeping Americans from finding employment

By Karen Graham     Jul 30, 2017 in Business
President Trump's message on keeping jobs in the country and putting Americans back to work has been heard by companies across Middle America - and the jobs are there. But when up to 50 percent of applicants fail a drug test, what's a company to do?
Last week, President Trump returned to Ohio to address his blue collar base, again bringing up his campaign theme of getting local communities back to work and returning jobs to American soil.
But with all the president's rhetoric on finding jobs for America's workers, it's not the jobs that are lacking. It's finding workers who can pass a simple drug test. The jobs are available, thousands of them, as a matter of fact. The economic impact of legal marijuana use, along with the opioid crisis is hitting the nation hard, but more so in Ohio and other states in the region.
During an interview, Saturday with CNN’s Michael Smerconish, Regina Mitchell, a co-owner of Warren Fabricating & Machining in Hubbard, Ohio said requirements for job applicants were simple. “I need employees who are engaged in their work while here, of sound mind and doing the best possible job that they can, keeping their fellow co-workers safe at all times,” she said.
Drug testing is a requirement to getting employment in the majority of companies in the United State...
Drug testing is a requirement to getting employment in the majority of companies in the United States.
“We have a 150-ton crane in our machine shop. And we’re moving 300,000 pounds of steel around in that building on a regular basis. So I cannot take the chance to have anyone impaired running that crane, or working 40 feet in the air.”
However, with many small to medium sized companies like Mitchell's the impact goes beyond finding drug-free employees. Her company covers the cost of health insurance for its 150 employees, but over the past three years, the company has paid over a quarter of a million dollars for five dependents of employees to go through drug treatment programs.
“This opioid epidemic that we’re experiencing … it seems like it’s worse than in other places all over the country,” Mitchell said.
State marijuana laws and the work force
According to, nearly 60 percent of the U.S. population lives in a state with some form of legalized marijuana and eight states plus the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for adult use. Ohio's new cannabis law went into effect in 2016 and allows the sale of marijuana for qualified applicants with a doctor's recommendation.
Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis shop at 970 Lincoln Street  Denver  Colorado.
Discount Medical Marijuana cannabis shop at 970 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado.
O'Dea (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Marijuana shows up on drug tests, and we all know that. Many people believe this is something that the states need to address. Without a doubt, the federal government will not be addressing any changes in testing for marijuana use as a prerequisite to seeking employment because, at the federal level, marijuana is an illegal drug.
And companies who are federally regulated require drug tests before being hired and do drug testing routinely throughout employment. This is particularly true of Fortune 500 companies. Drug tests have also started showing up in a number of state legislature bills as a requirement for unemployment benefits eligibility.
Bottom line? The debate over drug testing for marijuana use in the workplace is growing. However, the opioid epidemic in the U.S. is also growing. And while job performance in some offices may not be impacted by the use of marijuana by the occasional user, jobs in industries that involve safety-sensitive positions are a different matter.
More about Economy, Trump, fortune 500 companies, Drug testing, opioid epidemic
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