Pre-employment drug testing laws by state (2023)

Each new year brings changes in marijuana laws. Although federal law has not changed its classification of marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance, New York, New Jersey, New Mexico and Connecticut have recently legalized recreational marijuana.

As other states consider new laws, Paycor will update this article with additional changes to help you comply.

With so many states (37 most recently) legalizing medical and/or recreational marijuana, the dos and don'ts of job applicants for drug or alcohol testing has become a hot topic. marijuana billsalmost half of all positive drug test results.

The question you may be dealing with is, do I really want to limit my talent pool by requiring all potential employees to be screened? Because you can't choose; If you have a drug testing policy, it should apply to all applicants, not just a select few. See our chart for an overview of state drug testing laws for candidates.

(Video) Testing For Marijuana In 2022 - Do you know your state's laws?

State laws regarding pre-employment drug testing

illnessinsured employersprovisionsLegal medical or recreational marijuana
AlabamaallTesting is permitted after the candidate has received the drug testing policy and a conditional offer of employment.N / D
AlaskaAll employers, including school districts or regional educational institutions.Unrestricted exam. Positive results or rejections can be reasons for not hiring.medicine and leisure
ArizonaAll private employers and school districts and entities that provide transportation for school districts.Testing allowed after applicant receives Drug Testing Policy. Refusal to submit to a drug test may be grounds for disemployment. An exam is required for certification as a school bus driver.medicine and leisure
ArkansasN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.Doctor
Californiagovernment agenciesTesting is permitted for candidates for sensitive positions in government agencies if the test is work-related. An exam is required for public transport drivers.medicine and leisure
ColoradoN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.medicine and leisure
ConnecticutAll private employersTesting allowed after applicant receives drug testing policy. Former employees cannot be tested unless they have been away for at least 12 months. Employers in the following industries can apply for exemptions: mining; Public utility services; Construction; manufacturing; transportation or delivery; educational services; social or health services; activities in the field of justice, public order and security; and national security and international affairs.medicine and leisure
DelawarePublic and private schools and school transport; Department of Corrections.The exam is required for school bus driver certification and security positions with the Department of Corrections.Doctor
DCN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.medicine and leisure
FloridaPrivate employers with 3 or more employees. Public employers with sensitive security and law enforcement positions.Testing allowed after applicant receives Drug Testing Policy. Refusal to submit to a drug test may be grounds for disemployment.Doctor
GeorgiaState government employers, public schools and companies that provide school transportation; private employers.Approved exam for state government candidates, public schools and private companies. Refusal to submit to a drug test or a positive test result can disqualify an applicant for employment in state and public schools for two years.N / D
hawaiiAll employersTesting is permitted after the applicant has received the drug testing guidelines and has the opportunity to disclose the prescription and nonprescription drugs currently in use. Required exam for City of Honolulu civil service applicants.Doctor
Idahoall employerstests allowed.N / D
Illinoisall employersIllinois state law does not prohibit drug testing.medicine and leisure
IndianaN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.N / D
IowaPublic and private employersTesting is permitted if the applicant is informed at the time of application that drug testing is required. Ads and apps must contain a reference to drug testing.N / D
Kansasgovernmental stateScreening applicants for security-sensitive activities is permitted after the job offer. Safety-sensitive job advertisements must include a reference to a drug test.N / D
KentuckyN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.N / D
LouisianaPublic and private employers not subject to a federally mandated testing program.Unrestricted exam.Doctor
MainePublic and private employersTesting allowed after applicant receives Drug Testing Policy. Refusal to submit to a drug test or a positive test result may be grounds for not being hired.medicine and leisure
Marylandall employersUnrestricted exam.N / D
MassachusettsN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.medicine and leisure
MichiganN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.medicine and leisure
MinnesotaPublic and private employersTesting is permitted after the candidate has received the drug testing policy and conditional offer of employment and only if all applicants for employment have been tested.Doctor
MississippiPublic and private employersUnrestricted exam.Doctor
MeasurementsN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.Doctor
MontanaPublic and private employersThe exam is permitted for applicants for jobs in domestic transportation, jobs in hazardous environments, or positions related to security, public safety, or fiduciary responsibilities.medicine and leisure
NebraskaPrivate employers with six or more employees and public employersUnrestricted exam.N / D
Nevadagovernment agenciesApproved competition for public safety positions.medicine and leisure
New HampshireN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.Doctor
New Jerseyall employersTesting is allowed, but employers cannot refuse to hire someone for using (or not using) cannabis products outside of work.medicine and leisure
New MexicoN / DEmployers can implement and maintain zero-tolerance drug testing programs, including marijuana testing.medicine and leisure
New YorkN / DNew York City prohibits pre-employment screening for marijuana use, except for safety-sensitive jobs and jobs subject to a federal or state contract or grant.medicine and leisure
North CarolinePublic and private employersUnrestricted exam.N / D
Dakota do NorteN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.Doctor
Ohioall employersProof of the candidate with prior notice to the candidate and approved after job offer.Doctor
OklahomaPublic and private employersProof of the candidate with prior notice to the candidate and approved after job offer. The notice must be in writing and detail methods, procedures and policies.Doctor
Oregonall employersTesting is permitted if there is reasonable suspicion that the applicant is under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.medicine and leisure
pennsylvaniaN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.Doctor
Rhode IslandPublic and private employersTesting of candidates from the private sector is only allowed after a job offer. Public sector testing is permitted for jobs related to public safety or when required by federal law.Doctor
Carolina do sulall employers

SC Code § 1-13-30.

Unrestricted exam.N / D
heart housegovernmental stateScreening applicants for security-sensitive government positions is only permitted following a job offer. Public notices and advertisements must include a reference to drug testing requirements.medicine and leisure
TennesseeState Department of CorrectionsUnrestricted exam.N / D
TexasN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.N / D
UtahPrivate employers, local governments and public universitiesTesting in the private sector is not restricted. Local governments and state universities may screen applicants with advance notice and a written policy. Refusal to submit to a drug test or a positive test result may be grounds for not being hired.Doctor
VermontPublic and private employersPassed exam with prior written notification to the candidate after a conditional job offer has been made and if the exam forms part of a physical pre-recruitment.medicine and leisure
VirginiaN / DTesting is permitted, but employers are prohibited from disposing of an employee's lawful use of cannabis oil pursuant to a valid written certificate issued by a physician for the treatment or elimination of symptoms of the employee's diagnosed condition or illness to discipline or discriminate.medicine and leisure
WashingtonPrivate employers who wish to qualify for 5% employee compensation. Premium discount, with the approval of state authorities.Pass the exam with prior written notice and prior conditional job offer.medicine and leisure
West VirginiaN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.Doctor
WisconsinN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.N / D
WyomingN / DNo state law; follow federal law where necessary.N / D

Federal Drug Testing Laws

Candidates or employees in positions such as airline pilots, bus drivers, railroad workers, taxi drivers, and truck drivers are regulated by the Department of Transportation and must comply with federal laws that require applicants to take and pass a urine test before of employment. If a person in one of these positions has an accident at work, he or she must also take a post-accident drug test.

The Department of Defense (DOD) created drug testing laws for contractors working in positions responsible for national security,Drug-Free Workplace, 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 223.5🇧🇷 To comply with the rules, any DOD contractor who has any type of security clearance or access to classified information must have a drug-free workplace policy that includes:

  • OnEmployee Assistance Plan (PAE)that they coordinate with local resources, such as a drug rehabilitation center
  • A condition that an employee may indicate and supervisors may also refer for substance abuse treatment
  • Training for supervisors to understand how to recognize and respond to illicit drug use
  • A formal, supervised employee drug testing policy

DOD rules also require contractors to certify that drug testing guidelines comply with applicable state laws and also ensure that all unions have approved the guidelines.

(Video) Employment attorney discusses drug testing in a cannabis-legal state

With few exceptions (for example, companies that receive federal contracts), private companies are not required to screen candidates who reach the hiring stage, but many do because they receive a discount on workers' compensation insurance.

The "Just Say No" Era

Most current attitudes toward drug testing can be traced back to the Reagan administration, when many companies under the US government adopted "drug-free workplace" policies.Drug Free Workplaces Act of 1988🇧🇷 The law essentially states that any business that receives federal contracts or grants must be a drug-free workplace or it may lose its federal funding. Work readiness tests are an important part of the policy.

There is no doubt that the use of alcohol and drugs can be dangerous in certain occupations. This can affect judgment and concentration and expose companies to the risk of a lawsuit. ThisNational Council on Alcoholism and Drug Addictionestimates that employee drug and alcohol use results in annual losses of $81 billion. Pursuant to Executive Order 12564, federal employees involved in national security, law enforcement, protection of life and property, and public health are subject to mandatory drug testing.

Of course, state laws vary when it comes to taking a drug or alcohol test in the workplace or as a pre-employment assessment (which is why we created our simple reference chart).

(Video) Pre-Employment Marijuana Testing

Types of drug tests

Drug tests are usually done before you submit a job offer. If you fail a drug test, the job offer may be withdrawn. Pre-employment drug tests usually look for six substances:

  • Amphetamine (speed, crank, meth)
  • Ecstasy
  • THC (marijuana, hashish)
  • Cocaine (crack)
  • Opiate (codeine, morphine, heroin)
  • PCP (English Powder)

Pre-employment drug testing and the Constitution

An employer test usually does not violate the candidate's rights, but the way the test was administered (or how its results were used) can sometimes present a gray area. The US Supreme Court has ruled that extensive drug testing without a specific reason is unconstitutional. They also ruled that a candidate's or employee's positive test results should not be used in future criminal proceedings without the person's consent. And a test can be challenged on constitutional grounds if the results are released indiscriminately or if the test is excessive or inappropriate. So it's easy to see why many employers are abandoning candidate drug testing altogether.

Minimize risk with technology and expertise

Paycor Recruitmentis the simple, smart and secure recruiting platform built by recruiters for recruiters and HR hiring teams. Develop candidate pipelines, create branded career pages, customize job applications, and find great candidates while staying compliant. At Paycor, we offer more than world-class technology, we pride ourselves on our expertise. When organizations partner with Paycor, they gain instant access to a dedicated team of tax and compliance professionals to help them maintain compliance throughout the entire employee lifecycle. Do you want to know more? Take a product tour today.

The information provided in our table is for educational purposes only; it is not a legal notice. Always check the rules to ensure compliance.

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Can you still get hired if you fail a drug test? ›

Can You Still Get Hired If You Fail a Drug Test? For the most part, no. If the test result is proven to be legitimate (especially after multiple retests), you will most likely lose your job. If drug testing was part of a screening application, the company will probably revoke your job offer.

What is the most common pre employment drug test? ›

Urinalysis – A urine test is the most common form of pre-employment drug testing and is typically conducted once a conditional offer of employment has been sent. A urine test can show traces of drug use even after the effects of the drug have worn off and remain in the body for an extended period of time.

What happens if you fail a drug test in GA? ›

You can generally be fired for failing a drug test in Georgia, with a few exceptions. First, if you tested positive for a drug for which you have a valid prescription, such as medical marijuana, your employer can't fire you without running afoul of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Does the state of Ohio drug test employees? ›

Ohio has not enacted any general employment drug or alcohol testing laws. However, Ohio employers may require employees to follow the requirements of the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act (41 U.S.C.

Is it better to refuse a drug test or fail? ›

Refusal to take a drug test can result in termination of employment, and refusal to take a court-ordered screening could result in legal charges. The best course of action is to take the test. Although a moderate inconvenience, it contributes to a safer work environment and shows good faith.

How far back does a lab urine test go? ›

What is the detection window for a lab-based, urine drug test? A: Urine drug testing typically detects recent drug use in the previous 24 to 72 hours.


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2. New York employers prohibited from testing employees for marijuana
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5. Philadelphia To Ban Pre-Employment Marijuana Drug Testing On Jan. 1
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