The Truth About Marijuana and Your Job Seach

The Truth About Marijuana and Your Job Seach

by Lauren Molitor | February 16, 2017

0 INFO/RESOURCES - FOR JOB SEEKERS, Job Search - Ideas.Tips.Advice, Temporary and Contract Employment JS Bright Ideas

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A hot topic among Washington State job seekers right now is pre-employment drug testing. Because the recreational use of marijuana is legal in some states including Washington, some job seekers are surprised to learn that you can be refused a job if there are marijuana traces that pop up in a pre-hire drug screen.

Here’s the deal…

  • Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, no matter what an individual state may decide. This means, employers are well within their rights to require potential employees to complete a drug screen that tests for traces of marijuana along with any other illegal substances.
  • Most employers drug test because they want to keep the workplace and their employees safe, not because they have anything against marijuana per se. Drug use can impede workplace performance plus increase the potential for accidents. Drug testing is a common part of many employers’ Accident Prevention Programs as well as in cases where an employee is asked to handle highly complex or confidential information.
  • While most of us agree that what we do on our time, away from work, is “our business” when it comes to marijuana, the traces of what you do in your private life carry over into what might show up in your drug screen long after your awareness of impact.    While the effects of alcohol metabolizes rather quickly, and proof that you got buzzed on Saturday won’t show up on Monday, the length of time for marijuana to exit your system is very different.  In fact traces of marijuana can be uncovered in a drug test sometimes as long as 30 days after use.  The learning here is that any use of marijuana can impact your eligibility for work….even if you don’t mentally or physically consider yourself impacted.

 Three Tips for Job Seekers Regarding Marijuana Use:

  1. The first one is simple. To ensure that you pass any drug test, your best bet is to abstain from using  illegal or even questionable substances (including marijuana) while searching for a new job.
  • When preparing for your drug test appointment, think about any substances that could show up in a drug screen, and alert your test administrator. Do you take prescribed medications? Make sure your drug test administrator knows this. It’s often a good idea to bring your prescriptions to your drug test appointment.
  • If you have recently used marijuana and you are in a situation where you are about to be drug tested, be upfront with your potential employer. If you let your employer know that you are likely to test positive, they may be willing to schedule another time for you to take your drug test. Testing is very expensive for employers; they will appreciate that you have not wasted their time or money when you know you won’t pass.

The bottom-line is, when it comes to marijuana, which we know is for some an important part of their social environment, the ongoing use of it can severely limit your professional career options. It’s better to be safe than sorry in your job search!


blog-post-picture-2-editedThis article was written by Lauren Molitor, Partner Services Specialist with PACE.  The PACE Staffing Network is a leading Northwest staffing company who has been helping  local employers find employees and candidates fine jobs for over 40 years.  For additional ideas and information on how you can tackle the current marketplace – contact the PACE team at 425-637-3311 or email us at



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