Employee cannabis use


I’m writing because it’s vital that the public and employers need to know that everyone, including safety sensitive workers, should be able to use marijuana, unless you are a federally-paid employee. I do want to offer my sincere kudos to Ms. King-Hinds for even taking on the issue as most business owners and organizational leaders will only touch the thought of cannabis use in banning, instead of learning how to progress with society. I read about her government entity considering a “cannabis usage policy” that captured my interest and seeing the need for education.

What really got my attention was not so much about what was in the article but what wasn’t mentioned and consideration for the policy change. There was no mention of testing for “active marijuana” in a person’s system, which is really the future of marijuana testing as it can be used to test both safety sensitive and non-safety sensitive jobs. Some states (17 states) are already using active marijuana testing for state employees on a random basis. The only stipulation for employees not being able to use marijuana is that if their salary is being paid by federal money (federal jobs only), not necessarily the entity using federal funds.

Most active marijuana test are calibrated at 12 hours, which means that as long as a person does not use marijuana 12 hours before testing, there shouldn’t be a problem even for safety sensitive jobs. Besides, every person with common sense shouldn’t holster a gun if they are high, nor drive a bus with kids onboard. But for example, should an employer decide to randomly test an employee, they shouldn’t apply the test until 10am, which means that that person could use marijuana up to 10pm the night before and not have to worry about failing the test. Of course, if they are using the morning before they come to work, then they will never pass the test, which is the purpose—to prevent people from being under the influence of marijuana while at work, regardless of their status, as testing is really that simple.

It’s truly time for the entire world to get over it when it comes to marijuana, especially when medical science has already told us that marijuana is safer than cigarettes and alcohol with no harm to one’s body. But some people have been indoctrinated to be against marijuana and it’s hard to get them to see the new reality. But I am hopeful the CNMI will embrace the change to allow for cannabis users, as we have an industry depending upon that very fact. But just think about it: We don’t hear about random tests for alcohol users on the worksite, not even for safety sensitive jobs, but we should! In fact, and if I had to choose, I would much rather trust a bus driver who just smoked than one who is drunk, as the smoker is only going to get a ticket for going to slow in the big cities. Smokers don’t kill but drunks do! It’s like everything else we experience new in life; we must learn how to live with marijuana being legal and I’m glad to see at least one government entity is up to the task.

Ambrose M. Bennett
Kagman III, Saipan

Contributing Author
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.