All those drug positive messages about taxes, criminal justice reform, and blah, blah, blah,... have a predictable outcome. I'm simply going to catalog one here. U.S. made products are going to start falling apart and/or failing and causing injury or death. When Rye Electric was founded in Orange County five years ago, it screened all prospective workers for drugs. If a test showed traces of cannabis, the applicant was nixed. But the fast-growing construction company, which has a millennial-heavy workforce, has since adapted to the times. "We still do the tests," Chief Executive Chris Golden said, "but we choose to look the other way on marijuana." Some 20 of the company's 150 workers were hired despite flunking a pre-employment screening for cannabis. "We let them know they can't do it on the job and we trust them not to," Golden said. "What are we going to say – you can't do something that's legal?" Marijuana use remains illegal under federal law. But California was the first state to defy federal prohibition, legalizing medical cannabis in 1996. A 2016 ballot initiative opened the way to recreational pot. With a growing economy and a low unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, many California companies face a shortage of qualified workers. Legal marijuana is making hiring even harder for those who take a strict stance on screening for drugs. So, increasingly, they're not testing – or ignoring some of the results. "You watch what's going on in society. You look at recruiting, and you say, 'We've got to adjust,'" said Marc Cannon, a spokesman for AutoNation, the largest U.S. car retailer. The company, with 26,000 employees nationwide and 55 California outlets, stopped screening for cannabis three years ago. "A lot of great candidates were failing the test," Cannon added. "There are people who drink and are great workers, but they don't do it on the job. Marijuana is just like alcohol." New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics, compiling data on 10 million tests a year, reports an increase in workers testing positive for pot, especially in states where recreational use is legal. In 2010, 1.6 percent of Quest's urinalysis tests in California showed traces of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, marijuana's main active compound. By last year, the figure had risen to 2.5 percent. Some industries, including retail and warehousing, see higher rates. "Our data suggests recreational use of marijuana is spilling into the workforce," said Barry Sample, senior director for science and technology. Quest's numbers may vastly understate usage. "People using marijuana are less likely to apply to work for employers who have drug testing," Sample cautions. Today, nine other states and the District of Columbia permit recreational marijuana for adults. Thirty-three allow medical cannabis. Some jurisdictions have adopted employment-specific laws. Thirteen states prohibit workplace discrimination against medi-pot patients. And last week, the New York City Council moved to bar most businesses, nonprofits and city agencies, with some exceptions, from screening applicants for cannabis. But California's Proposition 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, explicitly allowed public and private employers to enforce "policies prohibiting the use of marijuana by employees and prospective employees." And in a medical marijuana case, a 2008 state Supreme Court decision held that an employer may refuse to hire an applicant who tests positive for cannabis, even if it is legally prescribed for a disability. Executives whose workers operate heavy machinery may feel they have little choice but to insist on marijuana screening. Last month, in the City of Commerce, Paola Bravo, president and chief executive of S. Bravo Systems, was hiring workers for her 150-employee factory, which makes containment tanks for gas stations. She was ready to offer jobs to five candidates who had aced their interviews, toured the bustling plant and tried on respirators. But all five – in a single day – failed a drug test for marijuana and thus were not hired. "We have machines that cut steel and could cut a limb off," Bravo said. "So anyone with a trace of drugs is disqualified. If something happened, I would be held liable." A week after the five tested positive, six other candidates "ghosted." "They like the pay, but you tell them to take a drug test and they just disappear," Bravo said. "Where are we going to find people when everyone comes in with crap in their system?"