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More People Testing Positive for Cannabis After Workplace Accidents

US worker on a computer with cannabis on her desk

The percentage of U.S. workers testing positive for marijuana following an on-the-job accident has increased to its highest level in 25 years, according to a recently-released analysis by Quest Diagnostics.

In 2022, post-accident marijuana positivity of urine drug tests in the U.S. workforce was 7.3%, an increase of 9% compared to 6.7% in 2021. The spike follows a steady increase in post-accident marijuana positivity every year from 2012 to 2022.

In the federally mandated safety-sensitive workforce - which includes pilots, truck drivers and heavy machine operators who undergo routine drug testing positivity increased nationally 14% year over year (0.86% in 2021 versus 0.98% in 2022).

"Intoxicating cannabis products, including marijuana, can have a major impact on safety at work and have been proven to slow reaction time, impact memory and impair skills essential to driving," said Katie Mueller, a senior program manager at the National Safety Council.

Infographic showing the spike in positive THC test results among American workers

"The Quest data provide compelling evidence that increased use of cannabis products by employees can contribute to greater risk for injuries in the workplace. It is imperative employers take the proper steps to create and maintain a policy that addresses cannabis use, build a safety-focused culture and educate the workforce to keep all workers safe on and off the job."

These increases correspond with the state-by-state legalization of cannabis. Since 2012, 21 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of marijuana and 38 states (plus the District of Columbia) have legalized medical use, although cannabis use of any type remains illegal under federal law.

"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," Keith Ward, general manager and vice president for employer solutions at Quest Diagnostics, said in a press statement.

Despite the uptick in workers' marijuana use, overall drug use among all categories of U.S. employees was unchanged at 4.6% in 2022, a surprising finding given the mental health fall-out associated with COVID.



Hi! I'm Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds

I write many of the articles here on Cannaquit and make sure I personally review every piece of information that appears on the site, so as to make sure you are getting facts and information supported by evidence.

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