Record Number Of Americans Are Failing Drug Tests Due To Weed, So What’s The Answer?

By Terry Hacienda, The Fresh Toast on

Published in Cannabis Daily

As the legal status of cannabis grows, company policymakers should begin to embrace change to ensure the most talented pool of workers aren’t kicked out or locked out of the best institutions.

This article originally appeared on and has been reposted with permission.

Quest Diagnostics recently revealed that the number of positive drug tests in American workplaces from January to December 2021 is more than the total amounts turned in from the early 2000s to 2019. This statistic shows that Americans are using drugs more than ever. On the brighter side, marijuana accounts for a substantial percentage of these test results. According to the report by Quest Diagnostics, published in the Wall Street Journal, about six million samples were tested, and 3.9% were positive for cannabis use.

Since this report is an annual report, it was easy to compare past and present figures. A careful look at Quest’s 2020 indexes reveals that the current statistics for positive cannabis tests are at a two-decade all-time high. There’s at least a 7% increase from the pandemic year 2020. Comparing the latest statistics to the numbers recorded in 2017 or earlier would show an even wider gap. The figures for 2021 are at least 50% higher than the figures for positive drug tests in 2015.

The most obvious takeaway from this data is that Americans are reorienting their attitudes toward cannabis use. The public’s perception of the drug continuously evolves in favor of marijuana. The new cannabis legislation in different states has played, and is still playing, a huge role in public cannabis acceptance. Drug Test Policies in the Workplace Workplace drug tests are an everyday occurrence in most developed countries. Companies in both the private and public sectors in the United States consider it an essential factor in ensuring their workers are fit to work or serve in their various units. Some companies carry out this test exercise before employing the workers and continue to test irregularly to ensure the workers keep to the company’s rules.

Federal government agencies are some of the many companies and workplaces where drug tests are incredibly crucial. A history of drug use and a positive drug test is enough to eliminate an applicant or terminate a worker’s contract. To them, it’s a matter of security.


Quest Diagnostics pointed out that with each piece of cannabis legislation added, fewer companies are testing for THC. Some cannabis legal states have cleared off cannabis from their drug test requirements. In addition to this, a few states with recreational and medical cannabis laws have approved legislation to prevent companies from testing existing and prospective employees for marijuana.

Currently, the cannabis testing requirements of workplaces are slightly different from state to state, depending on the state’s legislation and the company’s stance on cannabis use. The perception of cannabis in all nooks and crannies of the United States is still evolving, and the final straw would be a change in federal cannabis laws. Failed Drug Tests For now, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. Yet, more employees in legal and non-legal states are failing their drug tests, including federal workers.

Most fingers point at the pandemic as the leading cause of the rise in these statistics. Experts explained that the lockdown period that caused a shortage of employees during the pandemic caused some employers to be more lenient. For example, if a worker fails a cannabis test today, they are let off with a warning or minimal punishment, whereas in the past, the worker had a high risk of being let off for the same offense.

RELATED: Will Drug Testing For Weed Eventually Disappear Forever?


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