Drug Screening in the era of Legalized Marijuana.


As more and more states make marijuana usage legal, many private sector employers are readjusting their approach to drug screening.

The following states now allow for the legal usage of marijuana for recreational purposes:
Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as, the District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands. Many other states allow for the usage for marijuana for medical purposes. However, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.

This has lead many private sector employers to reevaluate their drug testing programs as it relates to marijuana. If you are an employer who’s drug testing is regulated by the federal government, such as the Department of Transportation, then you still must test for marijuana. However, if you are not regulated in such a manner, you have broader latitude in determining which drugs you test for.

In light of these new progressions and allowances in drug usage, we have begun to see the advent of 4- panel and 9- panel screens which do not test for cannabinoids (marijuana) as their earlier, traditional 5- panel and 10- panel screens have. See the table below for the typical 5, 4, 10 and 9 panel tests:



Drugs Tested

5 Panel Amphetamines; Cocaine; Cannabinoids; Opiates; Phencyclidine
4 Panel Amphetamines; Cocaine; Opiates; Phencyclidine
10 Panel Amphetamines; Barbiturates; Benzodiazepines; Cocaine; Cannabinoids; Methadone; Methaqualone; Opiates; Phencyclidine; Propoxyphene
9 Panel Amphetamines; Barbiturates; Benzodiazepines; Cocaine; Methadone; Methaqualone; Opiates; Phencyclidine; Propoxyphene

Whether your company uses the traditional 5 or 10 panel drug screens, or the updated 4 or 9 panel drug screens, you will want to discuss this with your drug screening specialists who can answer all your questions, and help empower you with the tools you will need to make the best decisions for your company, its employees, and your future success.