Washington state is poised to become the next state to ban most pre-employment drug tests for cannabis. Because THC detection is a poor way to measure vulnerability, due to the longer cannabinoids stay in the system, more states are forgoing drug tests for cannabis.
A new bill could change the way drug tests are screened for cannabis in the state. Senate Bill 5123sponsored by Sen. Karen Kaiser (D-Des Moines), would ban pre-employment cannabis testing.
“This is a victory over discrimination against people who use cannabis,” said Keizer, who serves as chairman of the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee. “For people who use legal substance — many of them for medical reasons — being removed from jobs based on pre-employment testing is just unfair, and we’re putting an end to that.”
State lawmakers are beginning to see how harmful drug testing for cannabis is, when qualified job applicants are denied jobs.
Keizer continued, “It just doesn’t make sense to reduce our state’s workforce by deterring qualified job applicants, especially at a time when the number of job vacancies is at historic high levels.” “This legislation opens doors for people who might not apply – and that’s a win-win for workers and employers.”
The law will only apply to pre-employment drug testing, which means employers can still maintain drug-free workplace policies for employees, such as random drug testing.
It would not prohibit the use of drug tests to screen for other drugs, nor would it prohibit the use of cannabis tests after accidents or on suspicion of impairment.
Sen. John Brown (R-Centralia) disagreed with the motion and said the issue should be addressed by modifying drug tests rather than introducing legislation to ban drug testing for cannabis.
“I acknowledge the problem,” Brown said. “I’m not sure this bill is the answer.”
An earlier version of the bill provided exemptions, such as applicants in the airline industry supervised for safety concerns, as well as federally regulated positions that would normally require drug testing.
An amendment from Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima) added more exemptions to the bill.
The bill would not apply to safety-sensitive jobs, whose impairment on the job could lead to death, which was amended rather than include certain industries. Employers will need to tell applicants if they have tested positive for cannabis in pre-employment drug tests.
Are drug tests an accurate way to identify vulnerability in the workplace?
the Spokesperson Review reports that cannabinoid metabolites can be detected after a prolonged period of attenuation, lasting up to 30 days or longer. But cognitive impairment can last from three to ten hours, according to a 2021 University of Sydney study. These researchers found that drug tests for cannabis are more likely to Inaccurate way to determine damage.
the researchers wrote Finding an objective measure of recent cannabis use that correlates with disability has proven to be a distant goal. Some states have enacted laws that place legal limits on the amount of THC a driver may have in their blood, similar to the 0.08% blood alcohol concentration limit in force nationwide.
“These findings provide further evidence that individual measurements of specific blood concentrations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol are not associated with vulnerability, and that the use of legal limits per se for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is not currently scientifically justified.” is reading The study published by the journal Scientific reports.
The bill is working its way through the legislative process and will head to a House committee for a yet-to-be-specified public hearing. It then goes back to the Senate for an approval vote before going to the governor’s office for his signature.