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Marijuana and Workplace Drug Testing

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Due to the pandemic, approximately 40 million people lost their jobs when respective governors and presidents enforced lockdowns. Even as we slowly inch closer to a new chapter of normalcy, thousands are left without a sense of financial security. Have you had to look for a new job thanks to coronavirus? Perhaps you know someone who was forced either to quit or was furloughed for the foreseeable future. In these unprecedented times, as they say, it helps to know how marijuana affects workplace drug testing.

Is Marijuana Legal In The Workplace?

As with most marijuana-related matters, the answer is far from black and white. We cannot give you a straight yes or no as many factors come into play. Firstly, what type of work is it? We can almost guarantee that if you handle heavy machinery, marijuana at the workplace will not fly. The same goes if you’re a surgeon, pilot, Lyft driver, engineer, construction worker, and so on.

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On the flip side, say you’re a graphic designer or a barista or a teacher—a less “high-risk” job that has you contained to a cubicle away from hammers and chainsaws. In these cases, marijuana might be allowed in the workplace.

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How Can I Find Out?

The best way to find out if marijuana is allowed in the workplace is to either consult with your boss or an HR representative during the hiring process. In most cases, HR will let you know if workplace drug testing is mandatory for the position.

Before you ask, though, keep in mind that HR will respond differently to medical versus recreational marijuana use. If you only smoke for the sheer pleasure of it, HR might tell you that it’s not allowed. If you have a medical condition, such as chronic pain, anxiety, or depression, it might be allowed since it’s your medicine and not something you partake in for fun only.

How Does Workplace Drug Testing Work?

Nine times out of ten, you’ll be asked to submit a urine sample. After your initial meeting with HR, they’ll ask you to make an appointment at a specific doctor’s office, one that specializes in drug tests. Once you’re there, it’s just like any doctor’s visit. You sit in a waiting room, the doctor calls you in, you take a plastic cup with you and do your business in a private stall. The doctor/nurse usually stands outside the door to make sure you don’t “cheat” the test in any way.

The lesser common form of workplace drug testing deals with a hair sample. If you’re a regular marijuana user, this is the one sample you want to stay away from because traces of marijuana can be easily detected in your hair—even if you haven’t smoked in over a month. We’ll get into the specifics of this in the next section.

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How Long Does Marijuana Stay In My System?

Let’s put it this way, the more frequently you smoke marijuana, the easier it will be for a drug test to pick it up—no matter if it’s a hair sample or a urine test. The longer your history with marijuana, the harder it is to pass a drug test—unless, of course, you prepare for it and stop smoking ahead of time. This is how long marijuana stays in your system with a urine sample:

  • Occasional users (up to three times a week): 3 days
  • Moderate users (four times a week): 5 to 7 days
  • Chronic users (daily): 10 to 15 days
  • Chronic heavy users (multiple times a day): more than 30 days

With a hair sample, marijuana can be detected up to 90 days. With a blood test, it can be detected up to 25 days. With saliva testing, it ranges between 1-29 days depending on your dosage and usage frequency.

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The Safest Practices For Workplace Drug Testing

You can usually tell ahead of time if your line of work requires a drug test. As mentioned above, it all comes down to your profession and job position. I’ve had to pass one drug test in my life and it was for a marketing position at a financial institution, so I guess any work that deals with a bank or credit union or money, in general, calls for a drug test. That’s just my best guess based on personal experience.

Still, it never hurts to prepare for a drug test just in case. Put down the weed for at least one month, drink plenty of fluids to flush out your system, maintain a healthy diet and workout schedule (sweat also helps to flush out your system and get rid of any toxins). All these practices put together can help you pass a drug test with ease and confidence! Now, go get that dream job!

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