(Alexandria, VA) – Today, an analysis of 10 million drug samples by Quest Diagnostics found that states that have “legalized” the use of marijuana have seen massive increases in workforce positivity since legalization. Oregon has seen a 63% increase, Nevada has seen a 55% increase, and Colorado has seen a 47% increase. All states that have implemented legal sales far outstrip the national average of 2.3%. Overall workplace positivity rates rose 10% last year while positivity rates in safety-sensitive workers, such as airline pilots and nuclear power plant employees, increased 5%.
“While rates of drug positivity have mostly fallen over the last few decades, marijuana use has risen as legalization efforts have perpetuated the idea that pot use is safe, and state sanctioned,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration. “These numbers are even more disturbing when one takes into consideration the fact that many employers are beginning to forego drug testing of their employees as drug use becomes more widespread.”
Furthermore, Quest Diagnostics noted that 4.4% of the samples contained traces of both legal and illegal substances such as marijuana, prescription opioids and other drugs. This is the highest rate of drug positivity since 2004 and continues a six-year upward trajectory in marijuana positivity in the U.S. workforce.
“Our in-depth analysis shows that marijuana is not only present in our workforce, but use continues to increase,” said Barry Sample, PhD, senior director, science and technology for Quest Diagnostics in a press release. “As marijuana policy changes, and employers consider strategies to protect their employees, customers and general public, employers should weigh the risks that drug use, including marijuana, poses to their business.”
“Lawmakers in states considering legalization must look at these numbers, consider the risk of future tragic circumstances in the workforce, and ask themselves if the juice is worth the squeeze,” continued Dr. Sabet. “Do we really think our country will benefit from our workforce becoming increasingly more impaired? It is time to end this failed experiment of pot legalization.”