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Recreational Marijuana and Our Industry

Recently, The Commercial Observer hosted Lou Coletti, President and CEO of the

Building Trades Employers’ Association (BTEA), and Frank Noviello, Field Labor

Coordinator for AECOM Tishman, for a discussion about drug & alcohol testing in

the construction industry. A topic of major interest to us all.

The United States Department of Labor reports that in the past 10 years 15 percent of

construction workers admitted to using illicit drugs and 18 percent admitted to heavy alcohol consumption. These numbers may be attributed to the fact that construction workers are almost 98 percent male and many are young. Both of these factors, being male and young, make it more likely that an individual will abuse drugs or alcohol.

Coletti noted that “construction is already the second most dangerous occupation

in the US,” behind only mining. “So when you combine the dangerous nature of the job,

building in the city’s high-density areas, and the social acceptance of recreational drugs, it can become a toxic environment.”

He also discussed difficulties in assessing new procedures in light of the increasing legalization of marijuana, especially in cases where a worker might only smoke recreationally, on occasion. As marijuana stays in a person’s system, a recreational user flagged for random testing would test positive, and would not be able to work. “That’s something we don’t know how we’re gonna deal with yet,” he said. He believes that as recreational drug legalization continues, the concept of mandatory testing will take on greater importance.

Although it’s several months away, reservations are open for our 2019 Annual WC&C

Convention. It will be held this year at Rosewood Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas on April

3rd through 7th. Please register on our website,

Register too, for our 2019 Annual Dinner Dance, which will be held on March 30th at

Terrace On The Park, Flushing. Both events are widely anticipated.

We’re getting ready for our headquarters move which will be sometime in January. Our new address will be 30 Jericho Executive Plaza, Suite 700C, Jericho, NY. More information will be coming.

Meanwhile, be safe.

— John

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