Maine Stops Testing Job Applicants for Weed

The cannabis industry continues to make ground, with some of Maine's biggest companies stating they will no longer test job applicants for cannabis use.

Cannabis will no longer preclude job applicants from getting a job at some of Maine's largest companies, provided their role doesn't involve the use of a firearm or vehicle.

This is particularly important amid COVID-19, as many citizens were left without a job during the lockdowns, and cannabis use simultaneously climbed.

Moreover, because of the inaccuracies of cannabis tests that often return positive results potentially days after an individual has consumed the plant, Maine employers are now attempting to place their attention upon employees that are actually high while working.

An attorney with Portland's law firm, Preti Flaherty stated that the change in marijuana policy has been precisely for this reason: "take it out of their testing policies because use is so widespread and the testing doesn't even come close to pinpointing whether the person is using on the job or not."

Maine legalized recreational marijuana use in October last year, and brought in over $220 million between then and January 2021.

One company that has decided to loosen its marijuana-use policy is Bath Iron Works, a major United States shipyard located on the Kennebec River in Bath, Maine.

Bath Iron Works hopes to hire 2,700 people this year, and a spokesman for the company, David Hench, stated that it wouldn't be "prudent" to exclude cannabis users from this big recruitment wave.

The company will, however, continue screening for other substances like opiates and cocaine.

Bath Iron Works decision to stop screening for THC follows the lead of MaineHealth, who has roughly 22,000 employees, making it the largest private employer within Maine.

It was in late 2019 that the company decided to remove THC from its list of prohibited substances amid drug tests for job applicants. At the time, a spokesperson for the company stated that "evolving state law[s]" prompted the change.

As the popularity and increasing legalization of cannabis continues, it's likely that more employers will follow suit in order to adapt to the changing laws and culture, which in turn will further normalize cannabis use.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.