Navigating Changing Marijuana Testing Laws: Spotlight on California and Washington

Aug 18, 2023 | News & Updates

As marijuana legalization sweeps the nation, states like California and Washington are taking a unique approach to marijuana testing in the workplace. These groundbreaking changes signal a shift toward a more balanced perspective between safety and respecting individual rights. Let’s explore the significance of these new laws and the emergence of Oral Fluids drug testing as a potential solution.

What’s Happening:

In response to the evolving legal landscape surrounding marijuana, California and Washington have introduced legislation that challenges traditional workplace drug testing norms. These laws emphasize the importance of assessing current usage rather than impairment levels as that is still to be determined.  Both states are prohibiting employers from discriminating during their initial hiring decisions based on lawful, off-duty use of marijuana.  They are doing this by requiring that the drug test used detects the psychoactive substance, not the metabolites, as is the result with traditional urine tests.  This will require companies to look at alternative testing methods, such as oral fluids for the testing specimen, or removing THC from their pre-employment urine drug tests.  As has been the case with other laws addressing marijuana, these laws do not apply to federal government direct or contract positions, and other select safety-sensitive positions.

Implications for Businesses:

As California and Washington lead the way, other states are likely to follow suit with similar legislation. This means businesses across the nation may need to rethink their drug testing strategies. It’s not just about compliance anymore; it’s about adapting to a future where testing methods align with changing laws and attitudes.

Exploring Oral Fluids Drug Testing:

One solution that’s gaining traction is Oral Fluids drug testing. This method offers several advantages that make it an appealing option for businesses looking to strike a balance between safety and respecting employee rights.  The first and likely foremost benefit, is that Oral Fluids testing measures current usage, typically within minutes of ingestion up to 12 hours (approximately), capturing the window of detection where the psychoactive ingredient is still present.  This provides a reliable result when determining if someone is actually impaired.

Other Benefits of Oral Fluids Testing:

  1. Timely and Accurate Results: Oral Fluids testing delivers accurate and dependable results, allowing for timely decision-making in critical situations.
  2. Employee Privacy and Cooperation: The non-invasive nature of this method promotes greater employee cooperation and respects individual privacy.
  3. Adaptability: With the potential for shifting regulations, Oral Fluids testing can easily accommodate changes by being readily available, cost effective, easy to administer and detecting current usage.

Key Considerations:

Before implementing Oral Fluids drug testing, businesses should keep a few things in mind:

  1. Regulatory Alignment: Evaluate how this method fits within your state’s evolving marijuana testing laws.
  2. Organizational Culture: Consider whether this testing method aligns with your company’s values and the overall employee experience.
  3. Logistical Feasibility: Assess the practicality of adopting Oral Fluids testing, including sample collection logistics and equipment requirements.


As marijuana testing laws continue to evolve, businesses must stay ahead of the curve. The pioneering laws in California and Washington signal a turning point, prompting companies to explore innovative solutions like Oral Fluids drug testing. By understanding the benefits and carefully considering implementation factors, businesses can navigate these changes successfully, fostering a safer and more accommodating work environment.  Be sure to consult your legal counsel with questions regarding your current policy, or if you aren’t sure what is allowed by your state.

For personalized insights and product guidance tailored to your business, reach out to us at .