Amendment 64: Denver CEO says legal pot will make it hard to hire, devastate economy

Jeffrey Popiel thumb.jpg
Jeffrey Popiel.
Since Amendment 64 passed last week, there has already been heated debate about how the measure will affect Colorado residents.

The CEO of a local environmental equipment business says he's sure A64 will make it harder for him to hire people, because they'll be able to legally smoke weed but will still have to pass his drug tests.

Jeffrey Popiel, president and CEO of a Denver-based Geotech, tells us that he opposed Amendment 64 for a variety of reasons, but is most concerned with how it could impact employment at his business.

Jeffrey Popiel.JPG
Sam Levin
Jeffrey Popiel
Since voters passed Colorado's Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol act last week, local politicians and federal officials have been discussing ways to deal with the fact that recreational use of marijuana is now legal in Colorado but is banned at the federal level. And while it remains to be seen how that discrepancy will be resolved, Popiel says he sees another contradiction that he thinks will have a direct and negative effect on his business: Colorado residents can now smoke weed recreationally, but that doesn't mean he can hire them if marijuana shows up in their system at the time of a drug test.

Geotech, which manufactures and sells ground water sampling, monitoring and remediation equipment, works with public municipalities and must maintain its drug tests, he points out.

"If you sell to the federal government or state government, you are required to certify that you have a drug-free workplace -- and so it's still against federal law to smoke pot," he says. "I don't care if people smoke or not. At the end of the day, it doesn't bother me. But the problem with the message that it sends is it's okay and it's legal to smoke pot. [And] if you smoke pot, I still can't hire you, because the THC stays active in your system longer than alcohol."

Popiel, 43, employs about a hundred people. He says that when looking for new employees, he is worried that people who would otherwise be qualified may not be hireble, or that some may not even bother to show up, since he has to make it very clear to potential employees that they can't have marijuana in their system -- even if A64 says they can.

It has already been a problem, he says.

"I'm having trouble hiring people to run our business," he says. "We used to...run ads, bring people in and interview them, go to take a drug test -- because you have to pass a drug test before we hire you -- and people would fail. So then we stared listing, 'Must be able to pass drug test,' in the ad. And then...people don't apply. So now we're not even getting people to apply."

He expects that A64 will only exacerbate this challenge.

"It's going to get even more and more difficult," he says -- because he feels the amendment encourages people to smoke even if doing so would make it harder for them to get jobs.

Continue for more of our interview with Jeffrey Popiel.


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67 comments
StarKissed
StarKissed

This is outrageously funny, considering that employees are already smoking weed regardless if it's legal or not.  No more will smoke marijuana than are already doing so.  Those who desire to smoke, already smoke, and CEO's are none the wiser, because it makes no difference in their work performance.  How naive can people be?  

geehawd
geehawd

Just use that Ultra Mask stuff. It is $20 at any head shop. Don't smoke for at least 12 hours, drink plenty of water, and that's it. Clean UA.

geoorbjoe
geoorbjoe

Alcohol legalization legitimized a huge criminal organization. No doubt an organization that made enough money bootlegging to influence legislation. So the same will be happening now. All of the drug dealers selling pot are now going to go into business as legit tax paying citizens. So what kind of ethics are being brought into this industry? How is this the same as ending prohibition? 

 

At best what we are saying is that marijuana is less bad than alcohol. Like most things, this is relative to a situation. One example: Are you less wasted on pot and can drive while impaired slightly better than if you drink 10 beers and drive? You're still impaired. Another example: Is a high school students mental capacity reduced for 30 days after smoking pot less of a problem than a really bad booze hangover for 2 or 3 days?  So how do two wrongs make a right again?

 

If someone comes in with a nasty booze hangover to work, it's pretty obvious right? Send em home to sober up or whatever. They'll be good after a day or two. If someone comes in to work in a pot induced mental brown out, their just going to do a crap job for the next month and take full pay for it. No one will know. 

fdsjnmg
fdsjnmg

Somewhere where its hard to hire people??? I find it hard enough to find a job as it is

mhsbookworm
mhsbookworm

Just flag donkeys comments. You have made your opinion clear and nobody cares to hear it.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Coming from a guy who has been recently seen paying for sex outside of Colfax bath-houses !

officerkillsalot
officerkillsalot

sweet toupee you civil right stomping douche bag. go fuck yerself you donkey raping shit eater. i wouldn't piss down yer throat if yer heart was on fire.

KathleenChippi
KathleenChippi topcommenter

Ironic employers are complaining about the passage of A64 when employers and property owners are actually the only people who got any RIGHTS enshrined in our Constitution--the permanent  RIGHT to FIRE an employer for USING cannabis when AWAY from work and the permanent RIGHT to evict a tenant or seize a house. 

 

Yes, it will be your employer or your property owner (including banks who hold federally insured mortgages)  who decide if 64 decriminalized possession, cultivation or use for everyone--NOT the voters who passed the mockery of "legalization". 

 

What we have here is a bunch of fools on both the pro and con side of A64 who still haven't read the dog damn law. 

 

Section 6 a and d -  give ALL the power to employers and property owners--whether the DoR  or the GA ever pass or license anything. 

 

 

handsomerpants
handsomerpants

Get a clue. Plenty of intelligent people use marijuana and contribute greatly to society as well as the economy in Colorado. What is that dweeb smoking-meth or crack?

wtfk
wtfk

"When I bring customers in from Korea, Japan, Brazil, China...you're driving around and they're seeing the pot signs, and everybody's like, 'This is stupid!' It's just not a good idea," he says. "How hard of a lesson do we want to learn and how long is it gonna take and how many people have to get hurt?"

 

Sounds like a fascist to me--not the kind of person who "doesn't have a problem with it."

 

Den420ver
Den420ver

Stop drug testing for Cannabis, problem solved. Your hiring a person, not their urine.

wtfk
wtfk

What was the problem again?

 

For the first 43 years of my life I didn't give a damn about pot, because it wasn't my pain medication, and I didn't much like potheads. If your company were right for me, I wouldn't have been happy about pissing in a cup (I believe the Drug Free Workplace Act is immoral) but if I needed the job, I would have done so, and since I had no pot in my system, it wouldn't have been a problem. I suspect over half the population is in the same boat.

 

So, what was the problem again?

StillMM2
StillMM2

It's funny because DonkeyHotay clearly has no  job other than pretend internet tough guy, as evidenced by the fact that he does nothing but post on the internet all damn day.

attbenjamin
attbenjamin

And quite frankly, you probably have a coke heads / alcoholics working for you since pot is the easiest drug to detect, while the harder drugs exit ur system in 1-3 days. Alcohol is 12hrs if u drink plenty of water!

attbenjamin
attbenjamin

Lol ur applicants never heard of 5 HR flush detox drinks as i used those back when i was on probation in the fascist state of Florida to pass the 'random' drug test with flying colors.

attbenjamin
attbenjamin

Lol ur applicants never heard of 5 HR flush detox drinks as i used those back when i was on probation in the fascist state of Florida to pass the 'random' drug test with flying colors. And quite frankly, you probably have a coke heads / alcoholics working for you since pot is the easiest drug to detect, while the harder drugs exit ur system in 1-3 days. Alcohol is 12hrs if u drink plenty of water!

orson
orson

A64 supporters, this is what you voted for...get used to it.

daxston
daxston

the belt is the best none government way to pass a piss test :)

gina_michelle109
gina_michelle109

He thinks people won't abstain just to get hired?? Are you kidding?? Myself, sevrral friends, and casual acquaintances have all quit just to get jobs. And if we didn't quit, we used a system cleanser from freakys. Stoners have been taking n passing drug tests to get jobs for years....the legality of a substance makes no difference. There's always going to be a way around it

daxston
daxston

these people have no clue whats about to happen to CO in 2014 LOL

 

CO population 5m feb 2014 CO population 10m over night.Its gonna be like the gold rush :D

grcool29
grcool29

Alcohol is legal, and people get drunk the night before they go to work.

 

Whats the difference!!!!!!??????

 

Use a different test. Just make sure they are not smoking/drinking/shooting-up/popping-pills during the time of the test as they shouldn't be when they are driving or working.

 

Problem Solved!!!!!

 

Drug free workplace for that time of the day.

ryank
ryank

I'm soooo sure noone has ever beat your drug test and kept a job there lol are you freaking kidding me?

helkins
helkins

I can't say this more simply, but dude you're a dork and I don't even smoke. If someone wants to be employed by you they will make sure they can pass a drug test and if they want to keep the job they will show up for work and do a good job. It sounds like you have no clue how to recruit employees.

WhoCares
WhoCares

What jobs do you have open for $20 an hour or more? If you think you will find non-pot smokers for $10 an hour it won't happen dude.

wayno3454
wayno3454

Sir move your company to Illinois we will be more than happy to have you.

NoSkinOffa
NoSkinOffa

1. A non-story.

 

2. A whiny fuck.

PotHead
PotHead

"I still can't hire you, because the THC stays active in your system longer than alcohol."

For a guy that runs a science company, he is clueless in this science. Active lasts less than alcohol. It's the metabolites that remain longer.

WhoCares
WhoCares

Drunk and stoned is how you make it in Denver. Look at this newspaper. They are doing well financially and they have promoted pot as long as I can remember. Of course Westword deletes some of my rants when I tell the truth but that makes them look bad and not me.

WhoCares
WhoCares

The Colorado economy will be bolstered in the next few years. I used to be totally against pot but all the pot smokers I know (expect donkybreath) are non-violent and because Colorado is a tourist and energy state the economy will grow. Can't wait for them legal pot brownies! hemp can be used for fuel. It's much better then corn. Let's have the pot heads take on big oil baby!

WhoCares
WhoCares

To say you can't find workers just does not make sense. Are you actually saying you can't find 22 year old college educated degenerates willing to work for minimum wage who iare terrible at customer service? Those are the people getting all the jobs. Hard working drug free men that actually care about customers do not get hired in Colorado.

WhoCares
WhoCares

I noticed on your website you do not list detailed job openings. Try starting there. Don't complain about not finding workers when you do even put detailed job openings on your site. I checked your pay scale for engineers and it is competitive. Engineers should probably be drug tested but the rest do not matter. You definitely want pot smokers over alcoholics. In fact you probably want your customer service folks to smoke pot. Denver has rotten customer service in general so maybe pot will put people in a good mood.

 

By the way I am hiring female  roller skaters without tattoos. I don't care if you smoke pot or not. In fact if that mellows you out smoke away or preferably eat away. The pay is commission only.

StarKissed
StarKissed

@geoorbjoe  "do a crap job for the next month..."   

I can't even express to you how ignorant that statement is, and further, it's not true.  Maybe you should tell us all about your own personal experience with marijuana so we can understand it more.  

What type of job were these "drug addicts" doing at Geotech?  It might not have been the pot at all, but the sucky job...maybe no one could bear doing it unless they had a buzz going.  

ShopMedStop
ShopMedStop

 @geoorbjoe

  This story reminds me of why Vail Mountan had to stop testing for marijuana over fifteen years ago. It was just amazing to see a company bend and stop testing for pot. Vail could not retain their best employees and it was costing them too much for the tests. I would suggest that Geotech ask for a waiver, or continue to hire from a disadvantage. Lol, just remember not to be a darwinian afterthought.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @PotHead -- So you support the limit of  5ng/ml for ACTIVE THC in the blood to determine DUI-marijuana,  as Washington voters have implemented via I-502 ?

 

 

wtfk
wtfk

 @WhoCares Someone who has a glass of wine now and then isn't DRUNK and someone who has a joint every now and then isn't STONED.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @WhoCares "The Colorado economy will be bolstered in the next few years"

 

"Bolstered" by the "10,000+ arrested" marijuana users who will still become fodder and profit for the Criminal Just-us System and the Prison Industrial Complex.

 

 

Mitsunobu
Mitsunobu

@WhoCares The engineering firms I have worked at never drug tested; I was high on OxyIR most of the time and they were fine with letting me take soil samples, material samples, design federal or state buildings, etc. The best part of getting messed up on prescription drugs was taking roof surveys while taking my first doses of my muscle relaxers and getting loopy and dizzy 90' up at the edge of a federal building renovation. When cannabis replaced my pain killers and muscle relaxers I had an improvement with productivity... I know a lot of engineers that smoke cannabis and like me have IQs above 150.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @WhoCares  -- Why hire a Stupid Stoner when there are THOUSANDS of sober applicants who can perform the jobs?

 

Do tell.

 

carlosperez505
carlosperez505

And you are definitely one of those suckers lol.@DonkeyHotay @geehawd

WhoCares
WhoCares

 @DonkeyHotay Not so unless the feds do the arresting. Denver police won't arrest people for small amounts of pot. Of course if you have 1,000 pounds and are selling it for profit you will be busted unless you register with the state. Pot will be legal in most states soon. It is less damaging then alcohol. I have seen so many violent drunks that I would just as soon see people switch to pot.

 

El Presidente will probably uphold state's rights in this matter is my guess. There is not going to mass arrests. Hopefully the police will start smoking instead of shooting people for fun like they do now. Guess what I could pass any drug test right now. Any jobs being thrown at me? Noooooo. If I do start eating pot watch the job offers roll in. Only thing is I work for myself after being disgusted with corporate America.

 

I am assuming you smoke? I don't for now but always got the impression you do. Are you a pot user?

WhoCares
WhoCares

 @DonkeyHotay I think we live on two different planets. Are you self-employed or retired? Why hire a stoner? I grew up with stoners and they were always the friendliest and most social group. A lot were musicians and artists. For engineering, flying, driving and medical fields I would require drug testing. I have always been anti-pot except I have totally changed my views with all the violence I have seen with alcohol. Only certain jobs would I drug test. I actually would prefer pot heads for customer service jobs. Also waitresses that are stoners are good hires.

gmonox
gmonox

 @DonkeyHotay  @WhoCares  Easy, because not all stoners are stupid, and just because someone does not use marijuana does not make them better qualified for the job.

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