Re: Initiative 502.
Legalization of marijuana in Washington state for recreational use will unquestionably have detrimental effects on employers, the citizens and ultimately the long-term viability of the state economy. Marijuana use is illegal by federal statute.
If passed into law, I-502 will place employers in an untenable position between state and federal laws. For example, employers that are subject to the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 may lose their ability to bid on federal contracts or receive federal grants. This will have a direct negative economic impact on firms that rely on federal contracts or grants and very well could lead to fewer jobs.
Although the initiative contains language regarding testing for impairment, it is an ineffective remedy. Drug testing for impairment, either through blood or urine, is not reliable. As such, this law effectively invalidates an employer’s ability to administer a drug-testing program and maintain a workplace that is free of drugs.
It places the employer in a position of taking on the increased liabilities and risks for accidents that may occur due to impaired employees. The results could be deadly.
Finally, employers may simply choose to not operate in the state of Washington. Ultimately, it’s the economy that suffers along with the citizens.
The risks of marijuana legalization far exceed the any potential benefits.