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The fact that recreational marijuana is legal in Washington state has been creating complicated hiring and staffing situations at local businesses. After all, while it’s perfectly legal for employees to smoke marijuana, businesses are understandably hesitant to hire team members who may be under the drug’s influence while at work. In addition, some businesses — such as those regulated by the Washington State Department of Transportation — have special requirements for ensuring a drug-free workplace.

Understandably, the businesses Bostec works with here in Whatcom County are taking various measures to deal with marijuana’s impacts on employees.

Among the companies that Bostec works with, 100 percent of the ones regulated by the state DOT and 90 percent of the rest don’t allow their employees to use marijuana. What that means for job seekers in Whatcom County is that they generally need to choose between weed and work.

If you want to smoke marijuana, the opportunities for finding work are going to be much slimmer — especially among companies that are safety-conscious or that hold government contracts. There just aren’t that many companies in Whatcom County willing to allow their employees to smoke pot, even if it’s just on the weekend.

Here’s how businesses in Bellingham and throughout the region are handling marijuana in testing and hiring:

  • They’re testing for drugs and not hiring anyone who tests positive for marijuana.
  • They’re testing for drugs, and if they want to hire someone who’s tested positive for marijuana, they’re hiring them on short-term contracts, giving them time to get clean before they’re hired long-term.
  • They’re administering drug tests for new hires but are ignoring what the tests say about marijuana.
  • They’re not testing for drugs at all.

If you’re a business owner, which option you might choose depends on the needs of your business, especially with regard to safety and to your company’s interaction with the U.S. government, since marijuana is not legal at the federal level.

For more information about crafting a drug and alcohol policy that’s specific to your business, reach out to the pros at Bostec. We have decades of experience helping companies like yours find the right stance on drug and alcohol policies for the workplace. We train human resources staff, company owners and managers to recognize drug and alcohol abuse. We also provide the supplies and tools you need to manage an in-house testing program, and we help develop HR drug and alcohol policies that comply with state and federal laws.

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