Will Colorado and Washington news organizations hire pot smokers?

Letter to Romenesko

A READER WRITES: Was wondering if you could offer insight or question the industry’s approach to piss tests as they relate to pot in light of the approved measures in Colorado and Washington state?

potIs a positive pot result a deal breaker these days?

I wonder how the news media in those states will handle it and what, if any, the ripple effect will be.

To be clear, I’d like to keep my name out of it and also any info that could ID me or the paper I work for now.

Seattle Times spokesperson Jill Mackie tells me: “Our policy is not changing. …Our existing policy expects our employees to be free of alcohol and any other drug while at work.” What if an employee enjoys a joint after work? “I can’t speak to the details of how that’s going to change,” she says.

At the Denver Post, “we haven’t decided yet” whether to change the screening policy now that marijuana use is legal in Colorado, says HR assistant Cindy Uribe.

“We’ve never drug tested,” says Westword publisher Patricia Calhoun. “And we have reporters — including our pot critic — who smoke marijuana on the job. Oh, and we’re currently doing a series of blog posts in which the writers get stoned with local artists and musicians.”

I’m checking with other news organizations and will update this post. I invite journalists from Washington and Colorado to post their policies in comments.

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