The war on marijuana


I worked for several companies that insisted on drug testing all employees at hire time (not after that) because, they said, most of the employees were call center employees, and they were very worried they might hire a drug addict or a drunk for those jobs because they were low-wage jobs. I kept saying to them that for those jobs at least, we had actual quantifiable performance standards (conversion rate, talk time, ASA, off-phone time, customer feedback, punctuality, attendance, etc) we could use that would detect quite quickly if we had hired someone who couldn’t function; whereas for management the performance measurement was much more nebulous. So in a sense, if that was really the reason for the policy, then it was a dumb policy.

An HR person once said to me ‘but what if we hire someone who uses drugs but somehow manages to perform well at work?’ When I said ‘Then why do we care about their drug use if it doesn’t impact their work?’ they just stared at me like I had two heads.


I have a few opinions on drug testing in general.

I don’t think pot should even count as a drug, and testing of it should be handled in the same way we handle booze. If a person goes out and gets stoned at work, it should be handled the same way if they had a few pops at lunch.

However, if the drug test comes back with the person having high amounts of heroin, well, that is probably a problem you want to avoid.


I always assumed that there was an insurance component to dumb HR policies like these as well.


Pretty sure that you run into legal troubles if someone turns out to be a drug addict and you then try to fire them, since it’s classified as an illness.

That’s generally why HR wants to avoid hiring them at all.


Maybe, but it never once happened (legal trouble) at any company for which I worked.


Actually, being classified as an illness is normally meaningless for HR. The company only gets in trouble if the addiction is the explicit reason they’re being let go. Note; lying on your application about drug use is an integrity violation, and affords you no protection if your job fires you for that. Of course we then have “right to work” states, where they’re not even required to give a reason.

The reasons drug tests are used for pre-employment screening is manifold. Off the top of my head;

  • It’s a personal competency exam; if you’re applying for a job and you don’t think to keep yourself clean for the test, your critical thinking and judgement skills aren’t up to snuff.
  • If you’re using illicit drugs, you have criminal contacts. This inherently places you at risk for blackmail and extortion, which by extension places the company at risk (also one of the reasons why credit checks are used by employers).
  • If you’re using illicit drugs, your judgement may be compromised at work regardless of where you partake.
  • If you’re an addict, odds are you’ll be using the company health plan more than someone else (likely nobody in HR will publicly confess to this, but I’m pretty sure it’s a real thing).

That said, I’m not a fan of the tests; if people want to screw themselves up and get fired, I think they should be allowed. (I also think there should be a much stronger safety net than we have, but I’m just thinking of what’s ideal) And bluntly, I doubt the risk of blackmail/extortion is significantly higher than some other random person hired off the street and the credit check would likely overlap much of the drug screening’s efficacy.


True. I mostly side with the employees on this. Unless they have a reason to suspect abuse and intoxication during working hours, leave them alone. However, I don’t think it’s right to force a business to choose between federal or state law. Sometimes they’re doing what they’re doing because federal regulations say they have to and to avoid lawsuits.


Ooh, this reminds me. We also provide equipment to government and military agencies, which enforces a more stringent drug policy from what I understand. I don’t know the full details.


I do kind of understand drug testing in industries where other employees may be injured due to impaired co-employees.

Like, I don’t want you driving a fucking forklift around me while you’re on heroin.


How about one of these? The paper roll itself can be half a ton.

Dude was high and tried to drive one of these, holding a roll, into the freight elevator. The the elevator dropped and the guy was lucky that he was only half way in.


I was once offered a joint at a job interview.

I declined the joint but accepted the job :)


So it was at SpaceX? :)


lol, no. But it was within the past decade and a large games company. I dont wanna cause hassle for anyone by naming it. But yeah i wasnt offended, just surprised, maybe I shouldnt have been. The arts have always had pretty prevalent drug use i suppose.


It would be freaky to be offered a joint during an interview. I would wonder if it was some kind of test.


I had high school internship at a top five advertising agency. My boss there and I often had a doob during lunch. OTOH, it was the 70s and I think he was hitting on me too.


The thought crossed my mind. But I discovered after it wasnt. Just the last guy interviewing me wanted to light up after work and was being polite by offering as he was my last interviewer for the day.

But yeah, it was quite a moment :)



Not that nice. I would have had a guaranteed job but I got fired. From an internship.
From another forum post:

I was a high school intern at Norman, Craig and Kummel. At the time they were the third largest advertising agency in the USA. I became friendly with a producer named Bob Lopez. I sat in on various commercial work. Fixing the color on a TV commercial. Writing an update for an oven cleaner. Bunch of fun stuff. I even had my own office. Bob decided that he’d rent a 16mm camera and we’d go to Central Park and film… stuff. I was well on my way to an amazing career in TV commercials.

Then I sent some of my 35mm photo film to be developed by Berkey Photo. In the bag from the office. We did it all the time, just one of the perks.

I arrived a bit late one day and was called into Bob’s bosses office. There I was told that the latest batch of pictures had come in. With two cops along for the ride. Did I recognise these pictures.

They were pictures of nude women from some magazine. I had taken the pictures of the magazines pics to show how good I was. And I was. You couldn’t tell that I hadn’t actually photographed live nudes. I was too good.

I was fired for developing pornography via the job. My life would have been completely different if I hadn’t screwed up that internship.


Whaaaaaat? Thats crazy! Sorry man that sucks!


I think the take away is, don’t get high at work? The funny part is that the pictures were from a magazine that was sold at various news stands. But I was freaking out so I told the boss that I had lent my camera to “a friend” and I didn’t know what was on it.

I should have told the damn truth.

Ah, here it is:


Bloody hell thats a blast from the past. Mayfair was around when I was a kid.