Employers across the United States are ordering fewer tests for marijuana in prehire drug screens even as the number of positive drug tests is on the rise — a trend that is raising concerns about the potential implications for workplace safety.
Screening dips in states that have approved marijuana for recreational use are particularly troubling, as they indicate that employers are forgoing drug testing due to legal risks and staffing issues.
Nationwide, 99% of drug tests in 2016 included screening for marijuana, and in 2017 that figure dropped to 98.4%, according to data compiled by Barry Sample, Seneca, South Carolina-based senior director of science and technology for the employer solutions business at Quest Diagnostics Inc.
States with legalized marijuana saw the highest drops in screening for the drug. According to Mr. Sample, 98.1% of employment drug tests in Colorado screened for marijuana in 2016, a figure that dropped to 96.2% in 2017; and 98.2% of tests in Washington state screened for marijuana in 2016, dropping to 97% of tests in 2017.
About 70% of drug tests ordered in the