Advocacy group blames Colorado for rise in worker marijuana use – The Durango Herald
WASHINGTON – A national anti-marijuana group is blaming Colorado as one of the states propelling a rise in marijuana use among the U.S. workforce.
That follows a new medical laboratory report showing that usage of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana is rising in the national workforce.
States that legalized marijuana showed the biggest increases in pot use among workers, says the report by Quest Diagnostics Inc., one of the nation’s biggest drug-testing laboratories.
Those include Nevada, with a 43 percent increase; Massachusetts, up 14 percent; and California, with an 11 rise.
Yet fewer American workers tested positive for opioids and other prescription painkillers in 2017, Quest Diagnostics found.
But the rate of marijuana usage – even in “safety-sensitive” jobs, such as airline pilots and medical personnel – rose 39 percent in Nevada, 20 percent in California and 11 percent in Massachusetts.
“This data mirrors the results we saw when Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana and are numbers we can expect to see any time a state foolishly follows their example,” said Kevin Sabet, president of the anti-pot group Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “Do we want our pilots, doctors and truck drivers stoned? We have to slow down this reckless experiment of pot legalization.”
Smart Approaches to Marijuana seized on the Quest Diagnostics report to advocate against legalization of recreational marijuana sales.
A safety-sensitive job is one in which workers could endanger people’s safety if influenced by drugs or alcohol, the U.S. Labor Department says. Examples include heavy equipment operators, hazardous chemical handlers, pilots and medical personnel.
The number of job applicants testing positive for illicit drugs last year was 4.2 percent, the same as in 2016 but significantly higher than the 3.5 percent of workers tested in 2012, Quest Diagnostics reported. Its report was based on more than 10 million urine