High unemployment is not a problem in Colorado. And whether or not it’s the burgeoning marijuana industry absorbing the surplus workforce, Colorado’s low unemployment numbers have pushed employers to reconsider screening for marijuana during their pre-employment drug testing process.
It’s a “supply and demand” issue according to Curtis Graves — the information resource manager for Mountain States Employers Council informed Colorado Public Radio that employers are facing a severely restricted labor market.
“We’re finding that for employers, it’s such a tight labor market, that they can’t always afford to have a zero-tolerance approach to somebody’s off-duty marijuana use.”
A “tight market” for sure, Colorado’s current unemployment rate hovers at just 2.2% — currently the lowest in the nation. A chronic problem for employers in the Centennial State, it has caused at least some within Colorado’s construction industry to think outside the proverbial box.
Mr. Bretz is the owner of a roofing business based in Englewood, Colorado. Anxious to harvest a worthy crop of potential employees, Bretz recently posted a “Help Wanted” notification online. Concerned potential employees may be scared off by a drug test, he included in the online employment post that applicants will not be dropped if “they tested positive for marijuana.”
Disregarding the many states that legalized marijuana during the 2016 general election, according to HireRight only 5% of all employers say they “formally” accommodate marijuana use for any reason.
A thing of the past for some, searching for marijuana metabolites during pre-employment drug screenings is slowly becoming an archaic relic of the Drug War era – at least in Colorado. According to the Denver Post, “marijuana testing by Colorado businesses has slowly declined over the past two years as 7% dropped the drug from pre-employment tests.”
With the voters of California, Washington, Massachusetts, Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, Maine, Alaska, and the District of Columbia having said yes to legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes — and representing approximately ⅕ of the U.S. population — removing the presence of marijuana metabolites as a disqualifying condition of employment seems like nothing more than common sense.
A big high five to all Colorado employers that have evolved with the times.
Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett