Drug testing can be a cannabis user’s worst nightmare, especially when a potential job is on the line. Marijuana is detectable in urine for up to three days after a single use and five to seven days for moderate use. THC can be detected for 30 days or more in heavy smokers.

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If you use cannabis for therapeutic reasons or are simply unwilling to give up smoking for a job, you’ll want to find an industry that’s unlikely to conduct drug testing. We’ll go through some of the best jobs that don’t drug test and the professions heavy smokers may want to avoid.

What Types of Jobs Do Not Drug Test?

There are certain types of jobs and industries that tend to be lax when it comes to drug testing policies. While individual employers within these industries may still do so, the following are occupations that are unlikely to require drug testing:


Designers, writers, performers, and other creative professionals are likely to be hired for their portfolio and talent, not their ability to pass a drug test. As long as you have a strong work ethic and the ability to meet deadlines, your clients or employers are unlikely to pry into your personal life. According to research conducted by Insider Monkey, only 3.9% of graphic design jobs required drug testing, while copywriters came in at 3.2%.

Food Service

The restaurant business is fast-paced, demanding, and known for rarely drug testing employees. Bartenders made a median salary of $29,240 in 2018 and only 3.2% of employers required bartenders to take a drug test. Chef positions were tested at a slightly higher rate (6.2%). Whether you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the kitchen environment or have the people skills for the front of the house, you may be able to avoid the dreaded pre-employment drug test with a food service job.

Work from Home

Remote jobs like customer support, virtual assisting, outbound sales and others can be done from the comfort of your home, virtually eliminating your company’s liability when it comes to workplace accidents. Productivity is also generally measured by performance, not sobriety, and you can often get a job without even going in for an interview. 


Web developers, IT consultants, and other technology workers aren’t typically subjected to drug testing. Many are self-employed and work for clients on a freelance basis. Sources have confirmed that notable tech giants like Google and Twitter don’t have drug testing policies, though these companies declined to comment. 

Beauty and Personal Services

Cosmetologists, makeup artists, and others in the beauty industry are needed for their technical skills as well as their ability to provide great service and maintain clients. Many hairstylists, for example, are independent contractors and face drug testing less than 1% of the time. Pet groomers and massage therapists average around 3%.

Small Businesses

Small businesses generally have fewer resources to administer drug tests as well as a smaller candidate pool. While established businesses may use drug testing as an easy method of disqualifying interviewees, smaller ones cannot afford to overlook talent based on recreational drug use. Size is not a perfect indicator of a company’s drug policy, but if all of the major companies in your field drug test, it may be a good idea to look into smaller businesses to land the right job for you.

Jobs to Avoid

Now that you know what types of occupations tend to be more 420-friendly, it’s important to know which jobs have a high likelihood of drug testing employees. Common sense applies to most of these. If Uncle Sam signs your paychecks or being intoxicated while on the job could cause a safety hazard, you’re likely to be subject to drug testing during pre-employment and throughout your career. These types of jobs are best to avoid if you want to maintain a smoker’s lifestyle.

  • Government
  • Public Education
  • Public Safety
  • Healthcare
  • Heavy Machinery/Construction
  • Professional Driver/Public Transportation

Why Do Employers Drug Test?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, federal law does not require employers to have a drug-free workplace policy, with the exception of federal contractors, safety and security-related positions, and those receiving federal grants. Many workplaces implement drug-testing procedures even when not required by law.

Company leaders may believe that it will increase productivity or reduce workplace accidents and liability. Some states also offer discounts on worker’s compensation insurance premiums for employers who drug test employees.

In addition to financial concerns, public perception plays a large role in any company’s decision to drug test or not. Industries such as healthcare and professional sports may require drug testing to encourage consumer confidence. Why would a company choose not to do a drug test? Positive results for workplace drug tests reached a 14-year high in 2018, however, the percentage of positive results was only 4.4%.

These tests can be inaccurate and there are many ways to pass a drug test without living a sober lifestyle. Drug testing can be costly and unnecessary for certain types of jobs and can lower workplace morale. Many employers do not feel that off-the-clock drug consumption is grounds for disqualification, especially in jobs where safety is not a concern.

Drug testing in the workplace has the potential to raise issues of privacy, discrimination, and wrongful termination that some employers would rather avoid. Many companies who drug test as a condition of employment will disclose their policies in the job description, while companies who do not drug test may choose to keep this information private.

Remember, the Federal government does not yet recognize marijuana as a valid medical treatment. Even if you have a prescription in a state with a Medical Marijuana program, employers may refuse to offer you a job for failing a drug test, and you could even be terminated from your current position.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that it was lawful for Dish Network to fire an employee for off-duty use of medical marijuana, citing marijuana’s federally illegal status. Financial security is an important concern, and it’s clear that using marijuana, even for medical reasons, can impact your ability to acquire and maintain a job.

If you have a great work ethic, collaborate well with others, and don’t want to work for the Man, it is possible to have a fulfilling career that will pay the bills without cramping your lifestyle.