Thanks to the legalization of marijuana, drug testing in Colorado has become a hot topic in recent years. While the decision has been celebrated by some, it leaves many scratching their heads with confusion. Do jobs drug test in Colorado? Can you get fired for having marijuana in your system, even if the drug is legal? Read on to learn more about drug testing laws in Colorado and what to do if you fail a drug test.
Drug Testing in Colorado
Even though marijuana is legal, employers are still permitted to test their employees for the drug. A 2015 Colorado Supreme Court ruling states that employers can fire employees who fail a drug test, even if they use medicinal marijuana.
The good news for marijuana users? Fewer employers are choosing to test their employees for the drug. According to a 2017 story from The Denver Post, 7 percent of Colorado businesses have opted out of testing for marijuana in pre-employment drug tests, and 3 percent have removed it from all drug tests.
Employers can drug test employees under their own discretion. However, most employers test under two circumstances: if they suspect drug use, or after a workplace accident. Many employers opt to pre-screen their new hires for drugs as well. Check your employee handbook for specifics on how your employer handles drug testing in the workplace.
What happens when you fail a drug test at work
Failing an employer drug test can result in mild to severe consequences, depending on the circumstances. In many cases, you could lose your job (or, if it’s a pre-employment drug test, you may not get the job for which you applied).
Oftentimes, this is the biggest consequence you’ll face. However, there definitely are exceptions. For example, if you work in government or health care, you’re more likely to face more extreme consequences such as jail time or fines. In addition, if you lose your job due to a failed drug test, you may not be eligible to receive unemployment or other state benefits. Failing a drug test can also make it difficult for you to find employment in the future.
What to do if you fail a drug test
If you fail a drug test, the best thing you can do for yourself is seek out professional counsel from an experienced Colorado drug lawyer. He or she can advise on the best approach to take for your specific situation.
In some cases, it may be wise to be honest with your current or prospective employer. Writing a professional letter explaining your situation or addressing the issue in the job interview may work in your favor, since it demonstrates maturity and honesty. However, understand that this in no way guarantees your job security — that is ultimately up to your employer.
Our state’s drug laws are constantly changing. With 62 percent of Colorado businesses drug testing, it’s important to know your rights as a Colorado resident and employee. Contact Colin Bresee, a successful Colorado drug lawyer, to review your case and learn more about your rights under the law