Colorado Workers Say ‘Bring It’ to Employee Pot Testing

Drug testing

DENVER—Despite the runaway success of cannabis legalization in Colorado since 2014, some employers are continuing to require that drug tests be administered to prospective new hires. “The Great Weed Experiment,” as it’s often called, has produced a significant bump to the state’s economy over the past two years and appears to be on a steady upward trajectory. In 2015 alone, cannabis sales reaped Colorado over $135 million in tax revenue from nearly $1 billion in total sales – and much of that money is headed to Colorado schools, infrastructure, and even homeless services.

So why is the Mile High State still testing for marijuana use?

Post-prohibition, business leaders in the state have noticed some striking changes with regard to employees who use cannabis. A recent study put the increase in employee productivity at almost 72%. It appears that when employees consume marijuana, they arrive at work more relaxed, have less conflicts with fellow employees, and experience fewer hangover mornings from nights out binge drinking.

“Cannabis use is definitely a factor behind more getting done in my shop,” says Manny Evans, owner of the Big Red Carpet, based in Colorado Springs. “My people are an extremely motivated bunch, and easily half of them smoke pot.”

Susan Fraser, co-founder and CEO of the Denver temp agency Exec2U, has noticed a new request being made with greater frequency by employers using her service. “I’m getting multiple emails and calls daily requesting we send them more cannabis smokers. So we’re testing for cannabis use. I personally can’t believe it,” she says. “Not very long ago, if you failed a screening test for pot I couldn’t find you a good job anywhere. But now, if you’re unemployed, my advice to you is: light one up immediately.”

The positive effects seem to be having the greatest impact on the customer service sector. Online shopper Toby Bagovich notes, “Oh yeah, it’s really obvious to me if I’m talking to someone that smokes pot or one that doesn’t. When I get a stoner on the phone, my issues are resolved without a problem. Now, before they even start talking, I demand a toker be put on the line.”