Hiring workers who don’t get high getting harder in legalized states

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DENVER -- Hiring workers in Colorado and other states where pot is legal is getting harder if you're looking for someone who doesn't smoke marijuana.

It's something that has companies making tough choices about drug testing new employees because unemployment here is so low.

Some Colorado companies are asking that THC be dropped from their pre-employment drug screenings.

That's in part because a national study on states where it’s legal to get high, also shows the number of positive tests are getting higher.

As more states like Colorado legalize marijuana most employers in those states have not stopped pre-employment drug screening.

And applicants testing positive for pot are on the rise.

"If you do have employees who are out in the populace particularly in motor vehicles I recommend that you maintain a zero tolerance approach,” said Curtis Graves a lawyer for Mountain States Employers Council which represents over 3,000 employers in our region.

"The trend seems to be at least among our membership toward less drug testing."

That's because competition to hire employees for non safety-sensitive jobs is getting tighter.

To fill positions some employers are relaxing the rules about marijuana testing if it's not required by law.

"Apart from trucking there aren't that many instances where employers are under a duty to drug test people," Graves said.

"What we're starting to talk more about is what is actual impairment on the job,” said Todd Mitchum CEO of TMC Partners. “I think that's what should be concerning employers more than on a Saturday their employee used marijuana and came in on a Monday."

"Most employers personally probably don't care about somebody's off duty usage,” Graves said. “As long as they come in able to work the following day and they're not impaired."

But real time testing for marijuana impairment is still in development, so keep that in mind if you're applying for a new job.

As pot becomes more mainstream though employers may have to decide the difference between an employee going to happy hour on Friday night as opposed to getting high with a few friends.