The Future of Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing

With the recent changes in the jurisdiction of marijuana, there is time to stop, pause, and then rotate your eyes to calculate the future of pre-employment marijuana testing, is it raising or declining? Here another question arises that Amazon the second biggest employer in the United State does hold any drug test for weed in 2021?

Pre-employment drug testing specifically for marijuana is common at the workplace to test the suitability and mental level of the employees for the job. The basic support behind marijuana testing is to increase the productivity and safety of the workplace. But the marijuana has been legalized in various states either for recreational or medical purposes. With the dramatic increase in drug users especially adults in the US, there is a question mark on the status of pre-employment marijuana testing.

Current Landscape and Employment Implications

FMAHealth notices that there is currently quick change in the legal landscape of marijuana and the workplace-so workers have to scroll down to the federal and state laws accompanied by the court decisions. It will help you to revise a policy regarding the drug testing practice for marijuana. The legalization of marijuana has affected the policies that companies use to maintain the safety and productivity of workers.

As marijuana legalization is processed so far, some locations are more outright in their decisions. New York City, Philadelphia, and Nevada have prohibited pre-employment marijuana testing in most companies. Employers must navigate the maze of marijuana laws for the safety-sensitive position and check the objectives and tasks performed by the employees.

Here another point of consideration is that the states provide some sort of employment protection to the employees with the positive drug test. The employers then have to struggle and comply with federal and state laws before terminating an employee.

But as marijuana is legalized in many states as medical or recreational marijuana then there is stress over the employers that how they will ensure the employees are not working over the influence of marijuana. This is the fact that marijuana affects the mental ability and working of the employees but now the employers are left with the workers that are using cannabis with no guarantee of their productivity. Because states prohibit discrimination based on the recreational use of marijuana but still marijuana is illegal federally.

How many States have Legalized Marijuana?

Have a look at how legal marijuana legalization has processed so far and the map of legal weed states is increasing.

Overall, the 37 states of the US have legalized marijuana either for medical or recreational use. Mean they give full access to the citizens for cannabis use. Furthermore, each of these states varies in its laws of marijuana use for adults’ medical purposes.

  1. In 2018, Michigan became the first Midwestern state to legalize recreational marijuana but by following the restriction over the age and concentration. Michigan recreational marijuana laws include:
    • Individuals 21 and older are allowed to legally buy 2.5 ounces of cannabis or 0.53 ounces of concentrates. Medical marijuana patients can carry 2.5 ounces at a time with a limit of 10 ounces purchase per month.
    • The adults can keep 10 ounces of cannabis in their houses.
  2. California state laws for drug testing allows employers to conduct drug test for marijuana use. There have been attempts in the California Assembly to bring legislation to protect the employees utilizing marijuana. But the new drug testing law California 2021 still allows employers to hire, terminate, or discriminate a person based on positive marijuana testing.While if you test positive for medical marijuana and provide proof then you can be considered by the employer for employment. But the Supreme court or any other law in California does not restrict employers to hire MMJ patients but it provides the right to the employer for the drug testing.
    • An individual can carry one ounce of marijuana by the laws of 2016.
    • Adults over 21 can buy 8 grams of concentrates.
    • Six plants of marijuana can be planted in one house.
  3. New York legalized recreational marijuana on March 31, 2021, with the 3 ounces of cannabis for recreational purposes and retail sales expected in 2022.
  4. New Mexico legalized marijuana on April 12, 2021, with adults 21 and older can buy marijuana up to 2 ounces or cultivars of six plants.
    IndianaProhibited for recreational useLegal for limited medical use
    MarylandIllegal for recreational useLegal for medical use
    MissouriIllegal for recreational useLegal for medical use
    AlaskaLegal for recreational use for adults over 21Legal for medical use
    AlabamaIllegal for recreational useLegal for medical use
    TexasIllegal for recreational useLegal for medical use
    KentuckyIllegal for recreational useIllegal for medical use
    LouisianaLimited amount is legal for recreational useLegal for medical use

Map of States with marijuana laws

A brief overview of the states by the change in the landscape of the weed laws in the form of a map is listed as:

The state of marijuana laws

Why Companies are Eliminating the Drug Testing?

It is quite simple to answer that why companies are eliminating workplace drug testing-simple to meet the labor shortage and attract workers. Experts say that this development can create racial equality in the workplace to level the black and brown employment opportunities. Supporters claim that the presence of drugs in the employees at a minimum level is not affecting their job performance. That’s why employers are not requiring drug screening for perusing a job.

Another point was made that drug testing is affecting the economy and the people of color. A survey shows the stats that how black people are disproportionally affected by drug testing. About 9.2% of the black people were fired for testing positive for drugs, while 4.4% of the white were fired-black people were twice affected by the drug testing. So, by all these measures, the list of companies is increasing that don’t take a drug test in the workplace.

List of Companies that Don’t Do Drug Tests?

After the legalization of marijuana and considering the shortage of labor, many companies and employers turned to eliminate marijuana drug testing. Here, are some of them.

Does Amazon Perform Drug Test for Weed 2021?

It might be the big news for the employees that Amazon has declared that their jobs don’t require a drug test except the position regulated by the Department of Transportation.

CEO Worldwide Consumer at Amazon Dave Clark says “We will not include the marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for any position not regulated by the Department of Transportation, and instead we will use it as the same of alcohol use. But we will continue to check on the employees and can test them after an incident”.

The main point that was used as a base by Amazon is the starling stats that show the increase in the positive cannabis test rates among the employees and the legalization of cannabis by the states. The announcement was made by Amazon on September 21, 2021. Amazon claimed that marijuana testing is acting as a barrier between the person and the job as there is a great increase in the positive number of cannabis users since the legalization of marijuana. Stats show that the marijuana positivity rate was 3.6% among the US workforce that is a 16% increase from 2020 for 3.1%.

Does Walmart Do Drug Test for 2021?

Walmart does not do any pre-employment drug testing for the workers but you may be required to submit a drug test in specific cases. In case of any injury requiring medical attention or suspicion of illicit drugs, the employees are tested. The urine drug test is the standard test for the Walmart Drug Screening.

Does Walgreens Do THC Drug Test?

Walgreen holds the pre-employment drug test for their employees to be hired. They check your background and a drug test for the safety of their workplace, and you should give the drug test without any hesitation.

Future of Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing?

The change of the recreational marijuana laws hints at the hazy future of workplace drug testing. Because the wave has moved from illegal marijuana to legal recreational marijuana and companies have also moved to eliminate workplace drug testing. Moreover, the law is becoming more prominent and there is a possibility of federal laws decriminalizing cannabis.

President Biden is also in support of the decriminalization of cannabis. Most importantly the 91% of the adults also that marijuana should be legal. The pre-employment marijuana drug testing is eliminated because of:

  • Shortage of Labor
  • Legalization of marijuana
  • Increase in the positive cannabis users
  • Racial equality between black and white

Resultantly there is an increase in the list of companies and the jobs that don’t do drug test in 2021 including Amazon and Walmart.

By reviewing the state and federal laws, the employee must review the policies and adopt best practices, described by FMA Health writers.


  • Carolyn Gaughan

    Carolyn Gaughan is an ex-executive vice president of the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians and represents the state associations of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians.