A record one in TWENTY American workers are high on marijuana at work
More people than ever are coming to work high on marijuana amid a wave of legalizations, new data suggests.
An analysis of more than six million urine tests from Quest Diagnostics, the world’s largest network of diagnostic labs, showed in 2022 that nearly one in 20 workers tested positive for cannabis, a new record.
Marijuana positivity increased more than 10 percent year over year.
The industries with the most marijuana users were food service and hospitality followed closely by retail trade.
A steady upward slope across all major industries coinciding with a wave of legalization efforts over the past decade, suggests that more people are using the drug in general. Food service and accommodation workers were the most avid users while people working in transportation and in warehouses saw the most marked spike over five years
In the rankings of industries that most often have workers who use marijuana, after accommodations and food service, came transportation and warehousing, then real estate, and finally, wholesale trade
Keith Ward, General Manager and Vice President for Employer Solutions at Quest Diagnostics said: ‘Our 2022 Quest Diagnostics analysis shows that the overall US workforce positivity rate continued to be at a historically elevated level in 2022, even as much of the nation’s workforce returned to the office post-pandemic.
‘This historic rise seems to correspond with sharp increases in positivity for marijuana in both pre-employment and post-accident drug tests, suggesting that changing societal attitudes about marijuana may be impacting workplace behaviors and putting colleagues at risk.’
Rates at which people use marijuana have spiked 54 percent across industries over the past five years, from a rate of 2.8 percent of workers testing positive for the drug in 2018 to 4.3 percent in 2022, the largest marijuana positivity rate since 1997.
The latest positivity data was gleaned from more than 6.3 million urine tests conducted in the workforce and analyzed by Quest Diagnostics and showed that people working in both the food service and accommodations industries, as well as the retail sector, were most likely to use cannabis in some form.
THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, can remain in a person’s system for up to a month, so a positive urine test does not necessarily mean the person is showing up to work stoned.
But the steady upward slope across all major industries, which has coincided with a wave of legalization efforts over the past decade, suggests that more people are using the drug in general which could include the workplace.
In the rankings of industries that most often have workers who use marijuana, after accommodations and food service, came transportation and warehousing, then real estate, and finally, wholesale trade.
In 2022, 6.4 percent of people working in the transportation and warehousing industry—think industries that provide transportation of passengers and cargo, warehousing, and storage for goods—used marijuana.
This could include being stoned on the job, although Quest was not able to pinpoint exact dates of use.
That’s up from 2.4 percent in 2018—a staggering 167 percent five-year increase.
THC is fat-soluble, meaning it binds to fat molecules in the body which means it can linger for days or even weeks, depending on the frequency of use. So a person who used the drug on a Saturday could test positive on Tuesday.
In 2018, roughly three percent of realtors and leasing agents used cannabis, which shot up 93 percent over the next five years to hit 5.4 percent in 2022.
Meanwhile, in 2018, 2.4 percent of people working in the wholesale trade used the drug.