Seyfarth Synopsis: Across nationwide testing, marijuana positivity rates for 2022 reached 4.3% (up from 2.7% in 2017), with biggest gains found in states that legalized recreational marijuana.
Impairment and related safety hazards have been disrupting the workplace resulting in lost time, absenteeism, safety hazards, and serious industrial accidents. We track annual positivity test reports from Quest Diagnostics, one of the country’s largest drug testing laboratories. Quest’s recently released 2023 Drug Testing Index reveals that while positivity rates for some drugs declined, the rise in positivity rates for marijuana and amphetamine continues to climb. Of the more than six million general workforce marijuana tests that Quest performed in 2022, 4.3% came back positive, up from 3.9% the prior year. Worse still, post-accident marijuana positivity of urine drug tests in the general U.S. workforce was 7.3%, an increase of 9% compared to 6.7% in 2021. While not entirely clear, it is possible that the widespread state legalization of marijuana has contributed to an increase in test positivity and also workplace safety hazards.
Scientific testing indicates greater likelihood of errors in judgment and workplace accidents where an employee is impaired by marijuana. A National Safety Council white paper continues to recommend a Zero Tolerance Policy for marijuana in safety-sensitive positions. Federal OSHA further advocates for post-accident drug testing as a legitimate part…
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