Although marijuana is becoming more accepted across the country, American employers are still coming down hard on workers who spark up on their own time. This includes many employers in states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational usage.
The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a survey of 623 human resource managers in states where marijuana is legal. The results showed that many employers won’t hire workers who smoke marijuana outside of work.
Currently, marijuana has been legalized in four states plus Washington DC. It is also allowed for medicinal usage in nearly 20 others. However, more than half of the managers that were surveyed by SHRM stated that they have policies to restrict the employment of marijuana users in some fashion.
More than 38% said that they will always reject marijuana users, even if they use cannabis for medical purposes exclusively. Only 6% said that they would allow medical users but not recreational users.
Director of survey programs at SHRM Evren Esen said, “There is what I consider to be a significant number of employers that are saying they wouldn't hire an employee that uses marijuana.”
With marijuana still being illegal under federal law, companies are allowed maintain whatever policies regarding cannabis that they see fit. The Colorado Supreme Court even said earlier this year that it was still legal to fire an employee for legally smoking medical marijuana outside of work.
Still, the policies of companies are becoming more relaxed overall. The survey also found that fewer employees are conducting drug tests than five years ago. In 2011, it was found that 55% of companies in these states were drug testing potential employees. Now, less than half of the companies in these states are doing this.
That being said, many companies have also reported that they would start enforcing stricter policies if marijuana usage started interfering with work life. Many companies have stated that they will not tolerate employees coming to work while under the influence. Some companies have even gone as far as to specifically mention marijuana in their employment policies.
Despite the change of marijuana laws, the vast majority of workers have not started coming to work while high. In fact, only 21% of employers have reported more than three instances of employees violating their company’s marijuana policy over the past year.
Really, the legalization of marijuana has largely been a success, and it hasn’t led to a rampant increase in marijuana users like many had been fearing. While employers still have the right to enforce whatever policies they wish, it seems as though legalized marijuana does not cause any real social harms.