By Chris Bovey
I have a business selling cannabis seeds, and often joke that I drug test any potential employees and if they fail a test for THC they won’t get the job.
As absurd as it would be to drug test employees for a head shop to make sure they are cannabis users and tested positive for THC; it is in my mind equally absurd and unjust for the majority of jobs to drug test employees or potential employees to make sure they don’t have THC in their system.
Sure, it’s entirely reasonable to expect that a train driver or an airline pilot is not stoned while in charge of a vehicle with hundreds of passengers on board; you equally wouldn’t want a drunk person driving your train or piloting your plane. It’s even reasonable to expect a teacher not to be stoned while your children are in their care during working hours at schools, just as you wouldn’t want a drunk in charge of a classroom.
These are perfectly reasonable boundaries and conditions of employment. However, a pilot or a teacher may get drunk out of their minds on alcohol, yet as long as the effects had worn off they can legally do their job. This is how it should be, if an airline pilot gets pissed at his brother’s stag do and goes back to work a couple of days later when the alcohol has worn off then he or she would be fine to pilot the aeroplane and wouldn’t lose his or her job. Fair enough in my opinion and rightly so, yet if they were to have smoked a few joints and they subsequently tested positive for THC they would not only lose their jobs, but also be barred from working in that profession again. Even though the effects of the cannabis would have long since worn off.
Drug testing is a gross invasion of privacy and human rights, what one does in their own private life should as a rule be of no concern to employers. Only if the consumption of substances, including alcohol, affects your ability to do a paid job, should it be of any concern to an employer.
A couple of weeks ago Education Secretary, Michael Gove, banned a Wigan teacher from the country’s classrooms for at least five years after he was caught growing cannabis at his home.
Teacher, Alan Taylor, has had his career and livelihood ruined, because he likes a toke and grew a few cannabis plants. It really is no different to a teacher who likes the odd pint or two and makes his own homebrew beer.
Can you imagine if a perfectly good teacher was sacked and banned from working in schools because they discovered a beer or cider making kit in his spare room? There would quite rightly be outrage. Yet Michael Gove, our taxpayer funded Education Secretary, is more than happy to ruin the career of a perfectly good teacher on account of a few cannabis plants grown for personal use, even though it is scientifically proven that cannabis is one of the safer recreational substances and is certainly far safer than alcohol.
There are many more injustices concerning cannabis, too many to mention in fact. Only recently we reported on the cannabis conviction of a former Special Constable and MS patient who was cruelly told by magistrates she would face a much harsher punishment if she was caught with cannabis again; one dreads to think what harsher punishment they have in mind, that could possibly be worse than denying an MS patient a medicine that alleviates pain and suffering.
Alan Taylor didn’t lose his job because he was drug tested, but the increasingly worrying trend in compulsory drug testing in this country means many more people could find their careers ruined because of certain lifestyle choices they make. This is an ugly trend that has its roots in the USA, where there is even a booming industry in companies that help you pass a drug test, with companies like Test Clear offering urine cleansing detox drinks that will make them think the pee came from Snow White (or Peter Hitchens), hair shampoos that hide traces of drugs and even fake piss in the form of powdered urine kits.
Drug testing is yet another oppressive consequence of the war on some people who use some drugs. We need to stand up and be counted and say no!