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Is Weed Testing Responsible for Hiring Problems at General Motors?

Why other businesses should look at what Amazon is doing.

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This story originally appeared on Benzinga

The iconic American automaker and one of the largest in the world, General Motors (NYSE:GM), is reluctant to jump on the cannabis-friendly bandwagon and, some say, the consequences are proving to be negative for the company. The Motown-headquartered corporation that happens to be located in a state with fully legalized marijuana, is having problems finding workers. In addition to no longer being among the country's higher-paying blue-collar jobs, another reason for not attracting workers is GM's weed testing policy, according to Merry Jane magazine.

Related: Amazon Will Stop Testing Employees for Weed

Applicants walk away from interviews

The company, at the moment, is looking for 725 temporary part-time employees for two of its assembly plants – one in Flint and the other in Fort Wayne – but leaders at the United Auto Workers (UAW) have apparently learned that many potential hires have “walked away from interviews” once they realized GM is testing for cannabis.

Michigan state law permits every adult resident to consume marijuana for either recreational or medical purposes – a right that many young workers are not prepared to give up for a low-paying temporary job.

This leads to another problem with General Motors: their compensation package. Temporary positions needing to be filled are only paying $16.67 an hour, while a local Pizza Hut delivery driver earns $20 per hour.

Another issue irking potential GM workers is the way the company is testing for weed. It is using the hair follicle testing method, which reveals only that someone has been using cannabis in the last several weeks, but not exactly when, that is to say, consuming while on the job may be suspected but not necessarily the case. Also, testing for CBD in a person’s system is known to be vulnerable to a false positive.

Related: Philadelphia Bans Marijuana Drug Tests for Employment Screening (with Exceptions)

United Auto Workers wants company to stop testing

The UAW is urging General Motors to abolish its weed testing policy and to raise hourly wages to at least $18.

Whether the company will take the demands seriously remains to be seen, but the word is that GM is considering them and is in talks with UAW officials.

Another corporate giant, this time in the online retail business – Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN),  recently decided it was time to change its outdated policy and declared it will no longer test for cannabis in most job positions.

Amazon also expressed support for the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act).

While some states with legalized cannabis have forbidden businesses to drug test their employees, federal agencies such as the Veterans Affairs department, NASA and every branch of the armed services, must continue to follow strict federal regulations and not allow their employees to use even CBD, writes Merry Jane.