Marijuana group NORML makes nationwide push to stop workplace drug testing

NORML chapters throughout the nation announced a new push this week to stop marijuana use from being a valid reason for not hiring a potential worker.

staff photo
Man smoking marijuana. (Rafael Castillo/Flickr)

Man smoking marijuana. (Rafael Castillo/Flickr)

Popping an edible, hitting a joint or dabbing in someone’s free time shouldn’t be a reason they’re not hired for a job, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

NORML chapters throughout the nation announced a new push this week to stop marijuana use from being a valid reason for not hiring a potential worker or firing existing employees. Through the Workplace Drug Testing Coalition, NORML plans to push for reform.

NORML is a Washington, D.C.-based group that lobbies on behalf of cannabis consumers. The coalition is pushing for reforming workplace drug testing policies, expanding employment opportunities for cannabis consumers, clarifying the difference between technology and performance testing and highlighting protections for employees while they’re not at work.

“Even though marijuana is legal and readily available in several states, consumers are being unfairly forced to choose between their job and consuming off the clock as a result of out-of-date employment practices,” said Kevin Mahmalji, national outreach coordinator for NORML, in a statement.

NORML chapters in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado are making the push for the reform.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that companies are free to fire employees for off-duty pot use.

Boulder attorney and longtime NORML activist Judd Golden said the court’s decision was wrong.

“Random, suspicionless drug testing of applicants or employees for past marijuana use is not just unfair and discriminatory, it’s bad for business,” Golden said in a statement.

It is important they know testing for marijuana is not mandatory, and that employers have options, said Jordan Person, executive director for Denver NORML, in a statement.

The Denver chapter is currently working with companies that offer performance impairment testing of workers suspected of on-the-job impairment or use rather than bodily fluid testing that picks up use from days earlier.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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