Light Up or Leave IT Alone?                                            

Sacramento employers are caught between a rock and a hard place as marijuana is now a legal recreational drug in California, but still outlawed by the Federal government. In many ways nothing has changed for regional companies with Federal contracts, transportation or safety issues in the workplace despite CA voter approval of ‘pot’ use.

Pacific Staffing asked top regional companies if recreational marijuana use in the first three months of 2018 resulted in any issues in the workplace. While not all could or would answer-  twenty-seven percent (27%) of those responding said ‘Yes’. Among the impacts noted by newly legal pot use were employees fired for keeping a ‘stash’ at work, more ‘red eye’ observed on the job, absenteeism, tardiness and one employer reporting a job injury from ‘inattention’.

While state law allows recreational marijuana use, most employers say little has really changed in at-work policy as sixty-two percent (62%) reporting say they still pre-test for employment, thirty-six percent (36%) random test for safety while another thirty-six percent (36%) described their company as ‘drug free’ with eleven percent (11%) stating a ‘zero tolerance’ policy that remains in place. While many of those contacted directly by phone between February 27 and March 23, 2018 recognize state law has changed, eleven percent (11%) consider ‘pot’ use similar to alcohol and unacceptable at work. For job applicants and current employees any use might become problematic as testing remains unable to pinpoint exactly how long it’s been since marijuana was consumed.

One anecdotal comment noted, “Never, ever come to work drunk or high” as the best practice. Another HR contact said misunderstanding by applicants recently resulted in problems in hiring, as a recent driver position drew nine people with seven dropping out of the potential employee pool because they thought ‘smoking pot’ was now ‘okay’ and failed a drug screen.

Workforce Challenge?

Sixty-Five percent (65%) of regional companies surveyed will hire in Q2, with demand in April, May, June equally split between motivation for workforce expansion (46%) and attrition (46%). General labor, entry level to skilled trades employers say applicants are in short supply in the Sacramento area. Sales, manufacturing, warehouse/shipping, product assembly and a wide range of technical skills are in high demand. Companies also sought construction estimators, escrow experience, route/delivery drivers and accounting/finance backgrounds.

Sacramento Regional Top Companies Polled by Industry:  

  • 42% Service
  • 29% Manufacturers
  • 19% Construction
  • 10% Retail

Media contact: Rick Reed 916-704-0080/