Will Legalizing Marijuana Put Manufacturing at Risk?
Elements of the Connecticut state legislature and Gov. Ned Lamont are again pushing to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Connecticut.
Will such a measure make it into law?
That is unclear.
What is clear is that many high-tech manufacturing companies in Connecticut are strongly opposed.
As Kevin Graney, president of General Dynamics Electric Boat told the Hartford Courant:
For me, it’s a nonstarter. I want to make sure that people coming to work on a daily basis are completely capable of doing that job, and we are very, very focused on safety.
The ships that we build go down to great depths with nuclear reactors… and, more importantly, our precious sailors. For me, there’s no equivocating about it. I’m against it for those reasons.
Graney is not alone. Such a measure would potentially be a major problem for all defense contractors in the state.
Every defense contractor in the U.S. is required under federal law to operate a workplace completely free of controlled substances.
What’s more—many of those who work for defense contractors are required to have high-level security clearances to hold those jobs and are prohibited from using or possessing marijuana.
CBIA reports that Connecticut employers are already seeing higher levels of drugs in candidates participating in pre-employment screenings.
That fact is making the filling of much needed positions difficult if not impossible.
Could there be a workaround?
Colorado may offer a clue. That state legalized recreational use in 2014. Employers there are permitted to test workers at any time and fire any worker found to have alcohol or marijuana in their blood.
Would it be practical to expect Electric Boat, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky, and other defense contractors in Connecticut to more aggressively test their workers so as to avoid losing their federal contracts?
Or endangering military personnel with poorly made equipment?
In the end—is it smart to place yet another burden on a sector of the Connecticut economy that has been one of the state’s few bright spots?
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