High but not hired: Companies preparing for legal marijuana – KSTP

“We can’t plan soon enough,” said Christina Hogan, director-elect of the Minnesota chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. “The question really becomes, what do employers do?”

5 INVESTIGATES surveyed nearly 150 small, medium, and large businesses around the state to see how they plan to adjust if marijuana is legalized.

Type of businesses that responded to the 5 INVESTIGATES survey

Of the employers who test candidates for marijuana today, the majority—more than 65 percent—said they will keep testing for marijuana even if it becomes legal.

Businesses stated that anyone who fails the drug screening won’t be hired.

“Smoking pot, and legalizing it, is just a whole new world for us that we don’t know if we want to get into,” said Sharon McCord, an executive recruiter for manufacturers in Red Wing.

However, that steadfast approach backfired on companies in states that have already legalized marijuana, according to Thoran Towler, chief executive officer at the Nevada Association of Employers.

“Every day at least one panicked employer was like, ‘We can’t fill these positions,’” he said.

Towler estimated more than half of his members have quit testing candidates because it was too difficult to find people who could pass the marijuana screening.

Caesar’s Entertainment, one of Nevada’s largest casinos and employers, announced last year that it would no longer test candidates for marijuana. A company spokesperson called it “counterproductive” and acknowledged they may be missing good candidates due to the issue, according to media reports.

Towler described it as a watershed moment and hiring managers across the state quickly followed suit.

“Once Caesars announced … that kind of took the taboo out of it,” Towler said.  “It’s still pretty secretive. (Companies) don’t want to put it on the billboard, but they’re saying it’s the reality of our work life now.”

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