Hound Labs Blog Workday Cannabis Use

Survey Offers New Insights About Cannabis Use at Work

The legalization of cannabis has ushered in a new era, one in which use is increasingly normalized and accessible. What we haven’t fully grasped is the extent to which cannabis is being used during the workday and the implications this holds for employers.

To better gauge the magnitude of this issue, we surveyed more than 500 individuals who use cannabis during or before work. The study examined the frequency and timing of cannabis usage, preferred methods of consumption, employment status, and the urgent need for innovative testing solutions to address the challenges posed by workday cannabis use. What we learned has substantial implications for employers.


We’ve long heard from employers that cannabis use among employees is an issue. Our survey results substantiate this feedback and paint a stark picture. Fifty-three percent of respondents, all of whom are employed, admit to daily cannabis use, with a staggering 91% reporting use at least once a month. These numbers underscore the prevalence of cannabis consumption and the urgency for employers to promptly address this issue in the workplace.


Perhaps most concerning is the timeframe of cannabis usage reported in the survey. Our survey findings reveal that 48% of respondents admit to using at work, either during breaks or even while actively working. Additionally, 31% are using while on their commute to the workplace. This blurring of lines between personal and professional boundaries underscores the need for urgent action.

Unsurprisingly, smoking and vaping remain the most popular forms of consumption, with 86% of respondents opting for these traditional methods. More strikingly, the majority of users are employed full-time (78%) and 60% work for companies that do not conduct drug tests.

Cannabis Use During the Workday Hound Labs Survey copy

The influence of cannabis legalization cannot be overstated. A significant portion of respondents (92%) work in a state with either recreational or medical cannabis legalization, further contributing to the normalization and increased prevalence of workday cannabis use.

The implications of these findings are profound. It’s evident that traditional drug testing methods are ill-equipped to address the reality of workday cannabis use. Tests with longer windows of detection may unfairly penalize employees for off-duty use while failing to detect recent use during working hours.


The rise in cannabis use among employees brings with it a myriad of risks and costs for employers. According to data from the Recovery Centers of America, the impacts of drug and alcohol use disorders in the workplace result in a staggering $81 billion in costs for employers. These costs stem from various risks including workplace accidents, disability and workers’ compensation claims, lost productivity, absenteeism, turnover, and recruitment challenges. Data from the National Institute of Insurance reveals a rise in costs tied to workers’ compensation claims, costs that coincide with the steady increase in marijuana positivity rates in the workforce.

The ripple effects of drug use in the workplace can extend well beyond the immediate impact on workplace safety and productivity to areas such as cyber, data, and brand security. An individual’s failure to perform in these areas can cause significant damage to an organization’s reputation, value, and bottom line. The average cost of a data breach, for example, reaches nearly $4.5 million, as reported by IBM.


Most employers aren’t concerned about whether their employees choose to use cannabis during their personal time away from work. As these survey results indicate, the primary concern centers on preventing use in the workplace. With high levels of reported workday cannabis use, employers who don’t test are exposing themselves to additional risks, safety concerns, and costs. However, drug tests with windows of detection longer than the workday (including oral fluid, urine, and hair) may unfairly penalize employees for off-duty use and put valuable members of the workforce at risk for termination.  

Incorporating a cannabis breath test into workplace screening programs gives employers the value of deterrence, helping them mitigate risks and maintain safety by detecting and deterring workday use. 

As more employers continue to adopt the HOUND® CANNABIS BREATHALYZER, breath testing is emerging as an effective option to address workplace cannabis use while empowering employers to:

  • Isolate cannabis use to within 2-3 hours of the test
  • Deter workday use and improve workplace safety
  • Retain valued employees and attract qualified candidates
  • Limit the possibility of cheating with mess-free and observed collections
  • Remain legally compliant with evolving workplace cannabis laws
  • Offer an alternative to zero-tolerance drug testing policies

As employers navigate the complex landscape of cannabis legalization, investing in innovative solutions like breath testing is essential not only to mitigate risks and costs but also to foster safe and productive work environments for all.

The question is no longer whether employees are choosing to use cannabis on the job, but what employers can do to prevent it. Connect with our team to learn how our recent use breath test can help you put a deterrent in place.

February 29, 2024

Director of Content + Brand Strategy