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2251, 30 Jul 17

Sober Workers Needed

As smoking marijuana becomes legal in more states and more socially acceptable in general, this is more and more of a problem.

(CNN)An Ohio factory owner said Saturday that though she has blue-collar jobs available at her company, she struggles to fill positions because so many candidates fail drug tests.

Regina Mitchell, a co-owner of Warren Fabricating & Machining in Hubbard, Ohio, told The New York Times this week that four out of 10 applicants otherwise qualified to be welders, machinists and crane operators will fail a routine drug test.

In an interview Saturday with CNN’s Michael Smerconish, Mitchell said that her requirements for prospective workers were simple.

“I need employees who are engaged in their work while here, of sound mind and doing the best possible job that they can, keeping their fellow co-workers safe at all times,” she said.

“We have a 150-ton crane in our machine shop. And we’re moving 300,000 pounds of steel around in that building on a regular basis. So I cannot take the chance to have anyone impaired running that crane, or working 40 feet in the air.”


2251, 30 July 2017


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Failed drug test should forfeit all government payments as well.

  2. Jason

    I don’t think this is fully caused by some states legalizing pot. This has been a problem in Milwaukee for the same job types as the article since 2010 at least. It has never been legal in Wisconsin, but when was the first legalization in another state? 2012, 2014? I can’t recall.

  3. Owen

    I don’t think it’s fully the cause either, but it is a contributor. But more so than the legalization is the mainstream cultural acceptance of it.

  4. billphoto

    Friend with IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) told me they have the same problem getting apprentices because they fail the drug test even when the applicants know in advance when the test will be.

  5. jonnyv

    As more states legalize it, it will become LESS of a problem. If it is legal in the state, why even test for it? We don’t punish people who get fall down drunk on a Saturday afternoon, but if you partake in smoking weed on a Saturday your test can come up positive (actually for up to 60 days in some people) and it disqualifies you for a job or as Kevin wants, gov’t benefits?

    We are at the point where is it culturally accepted, but not legally accepted. This will change over the next 10-15 years. If it becomes legal, it should not stand in the way of a job. It will be treated just like alcohol.

  6. jsr

    As jonnyv points out, part of the problem is that the tests for marijuana will come up positive for a long time after a person indulged — far longer than the person will be affected by the drug.

    Perhaps the solution in states where marijuana is legal is to treat it like alcohol. If you are impaired at work, the employer takes action.  If you are not impaired, no action required.

  7. Jason

    These employers decisions on this are based on many factors, OSHA, workman compensation insurers, insurance policies, etc. Probably much more of a driver on policy than an Owners or a board or directors whim.

  8. billphoto

    Personally, I do not want a 150 ton crane operator anywhere near anything that would impair his judgement.  Whether it is a train operator or a law enforcement officer, learning afterwards that they were drunk, stoned or high on something else is too late.  If you want to indulge, become a politician.

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