Cannabis Use on the Rise Among U.S. Workers

Increase in use tracks with legalization efforts across the U.S.

The number of U.S. workers testing positive for cannabis following on-the-job accidents rose to its highest level in 25 years, according to a new study by Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), but the occurrence is still relatively rare in these instances.

The new survey, based on 10.6 million drug tests between January and December 2022, found that 7.3% of all U.S. employees who were urine-tested following an on-the-job accident tested positive for cannabis, an increase from 6.7% the previous year.

In the previous decade, 2012-2022, cannabis use by the same demographic more than doubled, up 204%, Quest found.

The broader U.S. workforce also adopted a higher rate of cannabis use, the study found, with positive urine tests for marijuana up more than 10% between just 2021 and 2022, to 4.3% of the total workforce from 3.9%.

It’s no accident that the increase in usage has tracked with marijuana reforms and legalization in various states across the U.S. in recent years, Quest concluded.

Positive tests for cannabis use increased 11.8% between 2021 and 2022 in states where recreational marijuana is legal. And positive drug tests for marijuana also increased 8.3% in the same time frame in states where medical marijuana is available, Quest found.

Even in states where there are neither medical or recreational cannabis markets, marijuana positive tests still increased, just at a much slower rate of 3.3% from 2021 to 2022, and increased almost 15% from 2018 to 2022.

The findings will be presented by Quest at the National Drug & Alcohol Screening Association conference in Washington State next week.

John Schroyer

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