420

Can I Be Blunt? Three Things to Keep in Mind on 4/20

By JAIME FEINBERG
VP of Partnerships for Insurance, Risk, + Safety
Hound Labs, Inc.

Apr 14, 2022

In 1971, five teens met up weekly at 4:20 to search for illicit cannabis. In doing so, they created a "high" holiday, observed by millions today as 420.

As more and more Americans legally use cannabis, April 20 (4/20) has grown from an obscure day celebrated by “Deadheads” to an unofficial national holiday observed by millions today as 420. In fact, there are currently 55 million cannabis users in the U.S., and one study indicates more than 4 in 10 cannabis users believe 4/20 should be recognized as a national holiday1. As a safety professional, I am not advocating the celebration of 420, but if you choose to observe it, here are three things to consider.

IS CANNABIS LEGAL FOR ADULT RECREATIONAL USE?

This might seem obvious, however, not every state has legalized cannabis. Here is a current map of states2 that have legalized cannabis for adult recreational use.

Some states or municipalities have employment protections for cannabis use. Cannabis may be legal in your state, but employers have an obligation to keep their employees, customers, and communities safe, and therefore many screen for cannabis. So, even though you might be able to use cannabis legally, that legal use could jeopardize your employment status.

NOTHING KILLS THE VIBE LIKE AN ACCIDENT

Let me be blunt: CANNABIS USE CAUSES IMPAIRMENT. If you are skeptical about cannabis impairment, check out our High-Speed Track Tests of Marijuana-Impaired Drivers.

Recent statistics show overall positivity in the combined U.S. workforce is 4.6%, more than a 31% increase from the all-time low of 3.5% a decade ago.3 Positivity rates for cannabis continue to climb for the general U.S. workforce, increasing 50% over the last five years. And positivity rates for cannabis are up for federally mandated safety-sensitive workers.

NATIONAL SURPRISE DRUG TESTING DAY

April 21 is known as “National Surprise Drug Test Day4” in some circles. If you use cannabis on 4/20 and your company conducts cannabis tests on 4/21, you risk a positive result. The windows of detection for THC in oral fluid, urine, and hair extends for days, weeks, and months after use, which makes them less useful now that cannabis is legal. Many employers know this isn’t fair, but they must take steps to ensure safety because they could be liable if an accident occurs and they decided not to test.

At Hound Labs, we understand the need to balance SAFETY + FAIRNESS. Everyone has the right to work in a safe environment5, while millions of Americans have the right to use cannabis. If you live in an area where you can use cannabis legally and plan to celebrate 420, consider the potential safety implications, or think twice before partaking. Or take the day off if you are planning to use cannabis during the workday, you don’t want to cause a safety incident.

KNOW YOUR EMPLOYERS’ POLICY

Many employers realize they need to not only know “if” someone used cannabis, but “when” it was used. So, they are pre-ordering breath testing technology to add to their drug testing programs to specifically isolate recent cannabis use. Using a cannabis breathalyzer to identify THC in the breath, where it only remains for a few hours after smoking, is the best indicator of very recent cannabis use.

The HOUND® MARIJUANA BREATHALYZER is an objective indicator of whether an employee used cannabis recently. The Hound® solution provides employers with the information they really need now that many employees can legally use cannabis. The results from breath samples collected by the HOUND® BREATHALYZER will be negative for employees who used cannabis days, weeks, or months before the test, allowing employers to focus on detecting recent cannabis use to help deter cannabis consumption during or immediately preceding the workday. This approach reinforces a company’s overall drug testing policy, prevents costly issues, and keeps workplaces safe.

Although some employers may not agree with your personal choice to celebrate 420, they can work with you to create a company culture around SAFETY + FAIRNESS. As a responsible cannabis user, consider having a conversation with your employer about the benefits of using breath testing technology and adding the HOUND® solution to your company’s drug testing program. This blog outlines 10 reasons why the HOUND® BREATHALYZER is good for employees and employers.