Many companies throughout the U.S. not only run background checks on their applicants, but they also perform a drug screening.
There are many different types of drug panels that companies can run on potential employees, with a 10-panel urinalysis being the most common. This type of drug panel searches the top five street drugs (cocaine, heroin, meth, weed, PCP) and the top five prescription drugs (benzodiazepines, Quaaludes, methadone, propoxyphene, barbiturates). Other drugs may be added to or subtracted from this panel as specific requirements warrant.
Drug tests may be conducted using any number of sources including hair, blood, saliva or urine.
Since medical marijuana is such a hot topic, questions often arise from our clients whether a positive marijuana drug test can be overturned. Also, with guidelines and regulations varying by state some confusion exists as to how marijuana results are to be interpreted in the first place.
Marijuana is classified currently as a Schedule I drug on a federal level, therefore a prescription cannot be written for it.
Clients also ask how Medical Review Officers (MRO) handle a drug test that is positive for marijuana.
When reviewing drug tests for marijuana, Medical Review Officers, will not overturn a positive result. If the donor claims to have a Medical Marijuana Card, they can contact the MRO and ask them to put this message on their report, but the report will still show “Positive for Marijuana.”
Some company policies allow the use of recreational or medical marijuana. In this case, the MRO will ask the donor to refer back to their company to discuss their specific policies.
Even if a city or state allows usage under local law, the MRO will not overturn the findings.
If, and only if, the donor does state that they would like this claim documented on their results, it would read as such:
“At the donor’s request, we are advising you that the donor claimed to have a
Medical Marijuana Card or Recommendation during their interview. We do not
consider Medical Marijuana in determining final results and no verification of the
donor’s claim was made.”
Please note, this does not apply to any federally regulated testing.
While the Medical Review Officer may send you a letter documenting your applicant’s Medical Marijuana Card claims, it’s up to your company on how to proceed. Most companies put a drug testing policy in place, which states whether or not they will allow medical marijuana claims.
SELECTiON.COM® will work with your company to help you navigate applicant drug testing and the results.
D.R.S Medical Review Service, Statement of Procedures Regarding Donor Claims of Allowed
Recreational and/or Medical Marijuana Usage, 2017
Julie F. Burke is the Vice President of Sales at SELECTiON.COM®. Julie has been in the background screening industry for over 10 years, helping thousands of companies hire qualified applicants through background checks.