Excerpted from a THE FIX story by Paul Fuhr

Some companies have been forced to change their stance on screenings in the wake of an ever-tightening job market and marijuana legalization.

Pre-employment drug screenings, a decades-long staple of the American hiring process, may soon be a thing of the past.

According to Bloomberg, it’s an eye-opening sign of the times that many American companies are now looking to abandon drug screenings.

As employers continue to struggle to fill roles in an ever-tightening job market, not to mention dealing with loosened state-by-state laws around marijuana use, companies are looking for solutions wherever possible.

In many cases, that means adjusting their corporate strategies around substances: rather than preventing new hires from joining their ranks, they’re more focused on providing support for employees who might be challenged by problematic drug use.

“We don’t care what people do in their free time,” one healthcare company’s spokesperson told Bloomberg. “We want to help these people, instead of saying: ‘Hey, you can’t work for us because you used a substance.’”

Last year, a survey of employers in Colorado (a state where recreational and medicinal marijuana is prevalent) showed that the number of companies testing for pot fell to 66%, down from 77% just the year before. All signs point toward that trend continuing, too.

“Drug testing restricts the job pool, and in the current tight labor market, that’s having an impact on productivity and growth,” Bloomberg observed.
In other words, many applicants simply can’t pass a required drug test, with Quest Diagnostics data indicating that “failed tests reached an all-time high in 2017.” (In opioid-ravaged Ohio, some employers have even gotten ahead of themselves, putting workers out on factory floors before their failed drug-test results came in.)

“The benefits of at least reconsidering the drug policy on behalf of an employer would be pretty high,” Mercer Law School professor Dr. Jeremy Kidd told Bloomberg. “A blanket prohibition can’t possibly be the most economically efficient policy.”

With unemployment currently at 4% in the U.S., companies are now being forced to re-evaluate what they care about and what they don’t when it comes to their workforce.

You can read the full story here.