Skip to comments.Recreational Marijuana: Cause and effect in the Oilfield?
Posted on 01/03/2014 11:29:03 AM PST by thackney
Recreational Marijuana: Cause and effect in the Oilfield? The forthcoming battle for employers!
Although I was a bit hesitant to write this, recent events in the State Of Colorado has more or less made this a national topic and of course it will be a very debated subject in the oilfield.
First and foremost, I wish to make it clear that I personally do not condone or support the use of any motion or mind altering drug, whether legal or not, for use on any oilfield operation. Our industry is dangerous enough without adding any other factor into daily operations where a clear head and fast reactions to any situation are an absolute must. The lives of too many people are at risk where quick and concise actions by any and all are must for survival in many operational situations. With that being said, it is the context of this scenario by which we will discuss off the job usage and only that.
The current scenario is such that the Federal Government has more or less, washed it's hands of the whole marijuana usage issue and placed it firmly upon the shoulders of the State Governments. As all of us have seen, Colorado has opened its doors to both medical and recreational usage as of Jan 01, 2014. A lot of people have seen this coming, the pros and cons have vigorously been debated from both sides of the fence. None of the debates on board any rig that I was on ever proposed the usage on board the vessel in any shape, form or fashion. We are a sort of hard core bunch but even we know better than to allow that sort of activity way out there in the middle of nowhere where our lives depend on quick and immediate responses to danger. None of us want crane operators, subsea engineers, drillers, etc., stoned out of their mind running equipment and making snap decisions which could cost us all dearly. Self preservation for offshore hands is game rule number 1 at all times.
Now here is where it's going to get interesting for Operators, Contractors, Legal Departments and even HR and Recruiters. I see more and more states that will follow Colorado's example, even outside California, real soon. The monetary gains for states is too vast to ignore, sales taxes will soar, permits, licensing, etc., will be a new and steady source of income to the state coffers. Let's not forget that as soon as it becomes legal, each and every person now serving time in State Correctional facilities can be released thus saving the budget nearly $65,000 per inmate per year. The court systems can now flush every pending marijuana case on the books and relieve themselves of that load and expense as well. Local and state police and even the DEA will no longer be inclined to deal with this as it will surely fall under the BATF to regulate sales and growth. DUI of course will still be available to local and state enforcement agencies with new testing procedures and so forth.
Now where it's going to get sticky for employers, is those pre-employment drug screens and random tests on board and perhaps at the heliports. For the moment, it is my understanding that the states will more or less give employers the right to maintain their policies on the use of marijuana. As we all know from past experience, this will last only as long as the first major civil liberties lawsuit is taken to court. The dilemma being, if you live in a state where marijuana is legal for recreational use and as a citizen of the state, you partake of said substance on your time off in compliance of the law, what will the consequence of that in regards to being tested at your place of employment outside of your home state? Even more so, can you be denied employment in a non legal state on an initial drug screen if it is perfectly legal in you home state?
I can safely say, this is going to be a legal nightmare for employers from one end of the USA to the other. Civil Liberties vs Employer Rights will no doubt be a media frenzy and capture a lot of attention. Myself and many a rig hand have debated this vigorously with the pros and cons concerning individual rights and the employers. The resolutions to every scenario never were agreed upon to the satisfaction of both sides of the fence. I write this article to see what everyone else out there has to say on the subject. There is no doubt that employer legal departments have been kicking this scenario around for quite a while. It will be interesting to see what the general oilfield populace has to say on this subject.
Get used to getting needles for blood tests, both from cops at traffic stops and randomly from employers. They need current blood for a test of the active THC to see if you are currently high. A urinalysis only detects metabolized THC. It will be a real bag of worms to sort out, and pretty soon the cops will have the expectation that they can demand your blood, or take your license.
Smoke all they want but don’t expect to have a job where dangerous conditions are present.
And, I don’t think there are any sort of standards for dope intoxication.
The SF86 used for security clearances has section 23 which covers illegal use of drugs or controlled substances. Considering that it’s still illegal under federal law to consume pot, this may have an impact in Colorado Springs.
“...can you be denied employment in a non legal state
on an initial drug screen if it is perfectly legal
in you home state?...”
I know of several companies where tobacco use is a bar to employment,
and they pre-screen job applicants and random test employees for it.
I can't wait until we get a conservative administration so we can invade these pesky states and kill all the dope-smokin slackers!
We really need to use all this ammo pilin up in Uncle's warehouses...
“Smoke all they want but dont expect to have a job where dangerous conditions are present.”
You can get killed anywhere by inattention or stupidity, both of which are enhanced with THC. When I was a bag boy 35 years ago an employee mixed a gallon of Clorox and two bottles of ammonia. I had to carry him out and we evacuated the store. (It did kill about two dozen rats.)
This employee was so dangerous I begged the manager to fire him. Later, he was stocking a brand new store and he asked what that thing was running down the back of the stairs. An employee told him it was a sprinkler head and explained how it worked. So he took his lighter and clicked it under the head. The entire system went off an ruined everything in the store and delayed opening it for another month. They finally fired him. (I would have fired his manager. But nobody asked me.)
I’ve often wondered whether he’s still alive and if so how many lives he’s ruined. (I suspected he was a pot user, but couldn’t prove it.)
I work in the industry, and legal or not, it will never be legal at the refinery, pipe terminal or fab shop, or any other entities on the property..
There will be soon I suspect.
Although the 5 nanagram per se limit has yet to be implemented into law in Colorado, the police and prosecutors are already arguing that 5 nanograms of active THC is the per se level and will try to bring in their state expert to testify that 5 nanograms means you are unable to safely operate a motor vehicle.
The Feds have not washed thier hands of pot prohibition in the work place. Employers in dangerous/hazardous industries are still required to drug test employees prior to hiring and randomly thereafter, as well as part of any safety incident. See for example
Category Regulatory Information
Collection Code of Federal Regulations (annual edition)
SuDoc Class Number AE 2.106/3:49/
Contained Within Title 49 - Transportation
Title 49 - Transportation
Subtitle B - Other Regulations Relating to Transportation (Continued)
Chapter I - PIPELINE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (CONTINUED)
Subchapter D - PIPELINE SAFETY
Part 199 - DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING
Date October 1, 2009
Authority 49 U.S.C. 5103, 60102, 60104, 60108, 60117, and 60118; 49 CFR 1.53.
Source 53 FR 47096, Nov. 21, 1988, unless otherwise noted.
CFR References 49 CFR 1.53
49 CFR 1.53
Federal Register References 53 FR 47096
United States Code Reference 49 U.S.C. 5103, 60102, 60104, 60108, 60117 and 60118
Yep, I’ve had to pass drug test to work on site for DOT regulated pipelines before. That is not going to change. Most employers are going to require the drug test if they work in the industry; they could not get affordable insurance even if they wanted to do otherwise.
Truthfully, I doubt that many roughnecks would be attracted to marijuana in favor of alcohol, because alcohol provides a lot of calories, fast, which you need when doing hard labor in cold temperatures.
The best bet is that those who are smoking ‘stupid weed’ should be given a deadline, of “no smoking after midnight the night before working.” Assuming work begins at 6am or later.
I would also add an additional warning that they should never use marijuana for therapeutic reasons, like pain relief, without a doctor’s say so; because often it does not work as well as other medicines, and being stoned on top of being crippled up doesn’t do anybody any good.
And I would finish my briefing by requiring that anyone using oxycodone, oxymorphone, heroin, methadone or similar drugs *must* have that cleared with the company doctor, as that stuff is truly dangerous, and if they are hooked on it, they need serious help to get off it.
I've never know a single drinker to drink for that reason. And anyone doing it for when they are working on the job site, when actually performing the labor, won't be doing it very long.
The best bet is that those who are smoking stupid weed should be given a deadline, of no smoking after midnight the night before working. Assuming work begins at 6am or later.
I don't think that will happen. When Alaska decriminalized pot, it didn't. For the Alaskan oil workers (post original pipeline construction) it has been pass a drug test or go home.
Why exactly is being stoned better than being drunk?
The only people who ever got stoned routinely in one place I worked in NYC were the mailroom boys, who would sit on the steps of the building at lunch passing the joints around...and then everybody would wonder why nothing ever got delivered correctly...
If working drunk isn’t cool or is even a fireable offense, why is working stoned OK?
are you allowed to come to work drug? in the vast majority of cases the answers is no.
will the issue of being “under the influence” with respect to drugs change, just because like alcohol marijuana might be legal in a jurisdiction? no.
its legal to drink alcohol
it is not legal to be “under the influence” of alcohol or many mind altering drugs while driving or while doing various other work related tasks where safety might be an issue - nothing about making marijuana legal in a jurisdiction will change that, any more than legal alcohol is a license to be drunk whenever, where ever you chose
the issue is a non-issue
I employ people in the oilfield stretching from Utah, to Colorado, to New Mexico, and Texas.
I don’t care if it is legal; you get fired if you are a pot smoker. I even test for bath salts.
We deal with dangerous equipment and people need to be sharp.
“I know of several companies where tobacco use is a bar to employment,
and they pre-screen job applicants and random test employees for it.”
Liberal health Nazi zeal is going to come back and bite them on their stoner bee hinds.
5 ng is an absolute value and these things are usually done as concentrations. So maybe this is 5 ng/ml?
The oilfield is full of dopers.
Always has been always will be.
It’s the threat of getting the living hell beat out of them for doing something stupid that keeps them in line.
Yes, I looked at your link and it is 5 ng/ml.
Saw a bumper sticker once that said:
I work in the oil patch because the dope comes in 5-gallon buckets and the joints are 20 feet long!
I understand what you're saying.
I have a question.
I broke my heel bone into about 8 pieces 10 weeks ago, and have had a script for oxycodone providing up to 4 pills per day since. I've accumulated quite a stash.
I take maybe 3 every 2 days on average, never feel anything like a craving, and get nothing even vaguely resembling recreational benefits from them.
Am I missing something in how to use these pills? I don't see why people are so big on using them for "fun."
I had exactly the same experience as you describe for oxycodone, but Percodan was really good stuff....
Not sure why...
And no, I won't ping Dane because he is such an asshole.
Maybe I can schmooze the doc into giving me some...
The issue, I think, is that at present it’s a good deal more difficult to prove someone is high than drunk.
For starters, how about one keeping Kennedys out of the state ...
While I agree there are many drug users in the oil patch, hiring drug tests and follow up random drug test helps keep it down. I’ve taken many to start a new job.
For most of the work I've seen the last decade or so has been zero tolerance. No alcohol at all in your system is acceptable during working hours.
A couple decades ago we often had a beer at lunch, no more. And that is even with the office only work, not going to the job site.
That makes sense but I don't know the units. I haven't looked up on this before. I just searched figuring this isn't the first time this has been considered.
Companies have successfully been able to not hire tobacco smokers. I don’t think this will be any more difficult.
Not chemically addictive,no hangover and longer buzz on smaller dose are the big one. Then of course it’s just a matter of personal preference, the two buzzes are very different you might like one more than the other.
In the long run it won’t be any different than alcohol. Jobs you’re not allowed to do drunk you won’t be allowed to do stoned. It’s mostly the prohibitionists writing these things trying to make the situation seem other than it is. There was a wave of these stories when the medical MJ thing started gaining steam and none of their nightmare scenarios came to pass.
Someone pointed out they are discriminating against nicotine smokers, which is legal, so it would seem they can treat stoners similarly.
Sherman, I pray for a complete recovery for you.
My wife shattered her heel in an auto accident (teenage texting) about six years ago, so I understand what you'll be going through with recovery and PT.
Yes. Yes, they can.
|Legal or not, you could get fired for smoking pot (Colorado)|
Thanks. Doesn’t seem to be getting better very fast. Kind of discouraging.
Has your wife recovered fully?
She can't walk more than about 1/8 mile without sitting.
She teaches school and is on her feet much of the day. Each night her ankle is extremely swollen and she ices it.
I hope your results are much better.
The war on drugs is an unmitigated disaster. Cocaine is cheaper today than in 1970. It’s universally available 24/7 almost anywhere. When the cartels controlled all of the drugs they policed anybody who wasn’t a member and would kill anybody who competed. When the government crushed the cartels they created the perfect free marketplace and free marketplaces are efficient. Now instead of a limited number of “authorized” importers hundreds, possibly a hundred thousand small operators, some of them probably just students who bring in a kilo or two and never do it again. Its gone from a trickle to a flood that nobody can stop.
Here’s an unbreakable law. If there’s a demand for something there will be a supply. Now the war on drugs, although a total failure, has become the livelihood of several hundred thousand cops and their equipment suppliers. Together they constitute a constituency and a lobby that will keep the beast going forever. And it will NEVER stop the flow of drugs. That’s like a hydra. You chop off one head and two more grow instantly to replace it.
I did a job this fall were the general contractor showed up completely drunk. To be productive I had to have him move 8 home run electrical wires so I could run my ducting through a joist. This was the third time I told him to move the stuff and he always forgot. The last time I told him was when he was drunk. He grabbed a pair of side cutters and started cutting the wires without figuring out which ones they were in the breaker panel so they could be shut off first. Sparks flew and he kept cutting. All of the wires were live and he didn’t really give a damn. It was quite funny to watch him on the job. Too bad the homeowner had to pay for all the mistakes he made, but the homeowner was warned.
For many they are wickedly addictive. Even Rush Limbaugh got caught up in that. Estimated 2m addicted in the US. For a time it was called “Hillbilly heroin”, because there was a broad band of abuse from Kentucky to Virginia.
Importantly, the price of black market pills is ridiculous, in some places $100 a pill. But when deprived of their pills many addicted turn to heroin, at 1/4th the price and greater availability. The saying is that they think they will just smoke or snort it, but two weeks later they are injecting it.
When the pills were reformulated to make them harder to abuse, the switch to heroin took place far faster than they suspected. Suddenly there was a huge jump in the number of overdoses in that region, then shortly after in all four corners of the US: Pacific northwest, southern California, Maine and Florida.
But like so many things these days, it has been dropped off the MSM radar, because they think it might embarrass their chosen one.
I’m an electrician in the oil and gas industry.
Nobody is going to beat me for anything. I don’t touch drugs nor will I work with those that do.
I’m also in the Canadian sector which is hundreds of times safer than the world’s other sectors. Everyone comes to us for the training.
The guy putting out the Iraq well they said was a Texan, they neglected to mention that he was the Canadian guy’s helper.
I’m really sorry to hear that. And not only for what it says about my prospects.
We will pray for her.
Yup. Which is why the only way to win the WOD would be to go after demand.
There would be a number of highly effective ways to do this, but unlikely any would be constitutional, much less politically viable.
Colorado got off to a deadly start based upon the following thread.
Thanks. The first thing the surgeon said after looking at her x-ray was “I hope you never had any dreams about walking around Disneyworld with grandchildren.” (My wife was in her late 40s at the time)