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Michigan’s New Cannabis Breathalyzer: A Game Changer for Workplace Safety?

Michigan is now rolling out new technology aimed at detecting recent cannabis use in the workplace. Hound Labs has introduced a cannabis breathalyzer that is gaining traction among Michigan employers and medical centers. This device represents a significant shift in workplace drug testing, addressing a critical gap left by traditional methods that fail to pinpoint recent cannabis use.

Why the Shift to Breathalyzers?

The legalization of recreational marijuana in Michigan in 2018 and medical marijuana in 2008 has led employers to rethink their drug testing policies. Traditional drug tests, like those using urine, saliva, and hair, can detect THC for days, weeks, or even months after use, making it difficult to discern if an employee was under the influence while on the job. This is a major issue, especially in safety-sensitive industries like manufacturing, where the state has seen a rising positivity rate for cannabis use, reaching 5.8% compared to the national average of 3.1% (AOL.com) (420 Intel).

Impact On Safety

Employees who tested positive for marijuana had significantly higher rates of workplace incidents. They experienced 55% more industrial accidents and 85% more injuries compared to those who tested negative (National Safety Council). Furthermore, states that legalized recreational marijuana saw a 10% increase in workplace injuries among workers aged 20-34 (UPI)..

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How the Breathalyzer Works

The Hound Cannabis Breathalyzer works similarly to alcohol breathalyzers. An employee breathes into a mouthpiece for about two minutes, and the breath sample is preserved in a cartridge and sent to Quest Diagnostics. Results for negative tests come back within 24 hours, while non-negative results take between 72 to 96 hours. However, new technology expected later this year promises results within 30 minutes (AOL.com) (420 Intel).

This device detects THC used within the past few hours, aligning with peak impairment times and providing a more accurate reflection of recent cannabis use. This helps employers maintain safety without infringing on employees’ private time (Employer Screening).

Implications for Employers

Employers in Michigan are keen on using this new technology to ensure workplace safety. The breathalyzer is already available at multiple Concentra medical centers across the state and is being used for various testing scenarios including pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, and post-accident screenings (AOL.com).

This tool not only aims to detect recent use but also acts as a deterrent, encouraging employees to refrain from using cannabis during work hours. While it doesn’t measure impairment directly, it provides a critical piece of the puzzle for employers striving to balance fairness and safety in their drug testing programs (Hound Labs) (Employer Screening).

Expanded Use

As cannabis use becomes more prevalent, technologies like the Hound Cannabis Breathalyzer could become standard in workplace safety protocols. While it’s primarily being adopted by employers now, Hound Labs also plans to engage law enforcement to expand its use (AOL.com).

For Michigan’s manufacturing sector, where safety is paramount, this breathalyzer could be a pivotal tool in navigating the complexities of legalized cannabis while ensuring a safe and productive work environment.

For more detailed information on this development, check out the full articles from sources like AOL, Hound Labs, and 420 Intel.

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