Employers on legalizing marijuana

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Making pot legal here in Washington won't only change things from a criminal standpoint, but it could also change things for businesses. Action News found that a lot of them are taking a closer look at their drug testing policies.

There's more to legalizing marijuana in Washington than just the criminal impact. For example, businesses like Matson Fruit Company might have to re-think their drug testing policy on employees.
Do they still screen for pot?

"It really doesn't change things much about the way we do things here at Matson Fruit Co. we have random testing of safety sensitive people and supervisors and we're going to continue to do that," said Daryl Matson, Matson Fruit Company's HR director.

Matson Fruit frequently screens about 80 of almost 300 employees for drugs. The company maintains it's a matter of safety.

"Being close to machinery and being around other people so you don't hurt other people. You're putting them in danger, yourself and others," said Antonio Zuno, a six year employee.

Action News also checked with other big local players about what this means to their policies. The city of Yakima, Yakima transit, ESD 105, businesses and assisted living communities. They all said there are no plans to change their drug testing policies and that they are following federal law that still says pot is illegal.

Matson says he's now considering testing more employees with I-502 passing and expects other businesses to do the same.

"I think they would have to consider drug testing and testing for marijuana if it's going to be out there it could hurt your safety of your employees and of your workforce. It could be a serious concern-they need to stay alert and on top of this," said Matson.

Employers say even if marijuana is legal, they don't want anyone working who is high.

Washington plans to use 40 percent of the taxes raised from marijuana in the general fund. The rest would go to drug prevention, research, education and health care.