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02 January 2012
US Reader Feedback On Drug Testing Welfare Recipients
Last month, the Marijuana Policy Project asked readers for their take on laws that require welfare recipients to take and pass a drug test in order to receive benefits. It was a hot topic, generating more comments than any blog posting since the U.S. attorney crackdown in California. They also set up a survey, which over 700 readers responded to.
So, what were the results? The vast majority of readers, about 74%, were opposed to drug testing aid recipients altogether. The rest of you split roughly evenly between support for testing recipients for all drugs and support for testing for “hard drugs,” but not marijuana. The survey results skewed along the same lines as the views of our respondents, most of whom were opposed to testing altogether. Here’s a sampling of some other thoughts from our respondents:
Respondent Justin wants to look past ideology and focus on results:
Of course we would all likely prefer people receiving government assistance not use that aid to purchase anything besides the bare essentials. And if there were any indication that drug testing prevents drug use I would fully endorse its use. But the reality is every indication points to drug testing as being a very poor deterrent to drug use, in other words it simply doesn’t work
Reader David says if you’re going to drug test, do it consistently and equally:
I think anybody who receives government money, this includes all politicians and elected officials, should be subjected to random drug screens. What’s fair is fair.
Many of you agreed with Patrick in singling out companies that conduct testing:
… the real beneficiary of drug testing welfare recipients is the dirty drug testing industry who I personally would love to see destroyed … We all know that the drug testing industry lobbies hard to maintain marijuana prohibition as they have a vested interest in doing so.
Thanks to all of you for responding to the survey and to those of you who took extra time to leave your thoughts in the comments section. As an organization focused on optimizing policy with respect to marijuana, we agree with the overwhelming majority of our members that drug testing aid recipients is intrusive, ineffective, and wasteful, and we will continue advocating against bills that require testing as a condition for receiving benefits.