Not long ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Aside from the ongoing backlash from the cannabis community, many have dismissed this statement as baseless and completely out of touch. Caesars Entertainment Corporation now has a new attitude when it comes to drug screening despite their past policy on testing job applicants.
Earlier in June 2018 the Executive Vice-President of Corporate Communications and Community Affairs for Caesars Entertainment, Rich Broome, stated that the company had not stopped all drug testing, but they would not be screening applicants for cannabis use as one of their conditions for employment. Broome understands that Caesars and others in the state of Nevada have a need for quality workers and since the recreational legalization of cannabis has been in effect for over a year now companies need to align themselves with the new policy adopted by state vote. Broome stated that …” a number of states have changed their laws and we felt we might be missing some good candidates because of the marijuana issue and we felt that pre-screening for marijuana was on the whole, counterproductive…If somebody is believed to be using or high at work, then we would continue to screen for marijuana and other drugs.” Broome also mentioned that due to specific requirements designated by the U.S. Department of
Transportation there are certain driver jobs that would still have to follow a pre-screening for cannabis use.
Being that Caesars is one of the largest gaming companies in the US, it would not sound strange to say that other casinos may follow the same path to gain more job candidates to fill needed positions. Outside of the gaming industry, Excellence Health Inc., a Las Vegas based health care company that employs about 6,000 employees no longer tests applicants that are looking to get positions on the pharmaceutical side of the company. A spokesperson for the company, Liam Meyer, said that they had stopped screening for cannabis two years ago… “We don’t care what people do in their free time. We want to help these people, instead of saying: ‘hey, you can’t work for us because you used a substance.” The company has even added a hotline for workers that may be struggling with addiction.
The largest auto dealer in the U.S., Auto Nation Inc., made an announcement that they would no longer turn down anyone that tested positive for cannabis use. The Denver Post also ended their drug testing policy for any position that was not considered a safety sensitive position back in September of 2016. This new way of thinking on applicants that consume cannabis may be starting a trend that could end up really changing attitudes on cannabis in general. US Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, suggested in comments to Congress that employers should rethink the practice of drug testing every job applicant, which he suggested could keep qualified people out of the workforce. Acosta’s remarks came in response to a question from Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing. Blumenauer said he’s concerned that legal pot shows up “in ways that are disqualifying” on drug tests, and asked Acosta what could be done to “unleash” those workers’ potential.
There is no specific information on how many companies conduct drug tests, though the Society for Human Resource Management found in a survey that 57 percent do so. Nor is there any recent data on how many have dropped marijuana from mandatory drug testing.
By Tracy Jerome Chisley (@PoeticPanther)
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