So here's the deal. I'm from Canada and last summer I worked for this company and they want to rehire me for this summer but in a different state, Georgia (I believe the testing is for insurance purposes), whereas i was working in a different state last time. Also the company is an IT company. Also I have been smoking weed but have stopped as soon as I found out about this.

This time they want me to do a drug test, something I never anticipated, given I live in Canada. The company will have to invest in getting me to USA.

So I have two main questions.

  1. Will they want me to take a drug test while in Canada or when I arrive in the states (note a drug test is NOT required for the visa J1)? Or what is most likely to happen when companies face this problem of drug testing.

  2. If I fail the test, when I get to the States, would they immediately fire me and send me back, even though they invested in getting me there, pay for travel expenses etc. Also I'm hired to do a specific project so sending me back means that project will not be completed until they hire someone else which could take a while for them. So my question is, would they try to find a workaround? Especially when it is in their interest. Also note that the investment of travel, visa etc. has already begun processing.

Also note that I read the post (link will be posted soon) regarding this but not my specific situation. What should I do if I think I'll fail a drug test? The reason that this answer isn't sufficient because I am trying to find out answers without asking the employer which could arise suspicion. The question does help me deal with the case if I were to get a failing result but not with what they company would plan to do. Also in my case the company is investing more in me than the asker in the other question mentioned.

Thanks in advance.

  • Thanks for editing. Can you clarify why the linked question doesn't help you? Q&A is intended to be generally applicable so even if it doesn't match your situation exactly it may still be a duplicate. It's good to point out why or where your situation is different to help people who answer and avoid duplicate close votes.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 15:20
  • It's simple, yes you do the test before they move you, and You don't get the job, unless your intial drug screening is negative. Except more tests in the future for illegal drugs if you get the job
    – Donald
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 15:34

3 Answers 3



  1. That's a matter of company policy/practice, and you should ask the hiring manager (or whoever first told you about the requirement). If it's a pre-employment drug screening, I would guess that they'd have you complete it at a lab wherever you are, before they bring you to Georgia. But you really have to ask them to be sure.
  2. If you fail (test positive) before you arrive, they probably won't even bring you down. If they wait until you've arrived to test you and you fail, they'll probably have trouble with their project, but not substantially more trouble than they'd have if you'd failed back in Canada. They'll have spent money on your travel, but that's a risk they accept if they do things this way. (Many companies also pay travel expenses for candidates to get to interviews, even though they obviously don't hire everyone.)

A couple notes

Part 2 is written on the assumption that you'll be fired/have your offer pulled if you fail. It is possible, however, that they don't care about weed, only hard drugs. Don't count on this, though! Now sounds like a great time to go clean.

If they do pay for your travel expenses and then want to get rid of you, that is just their tough luck. If they demand money, say no (unless you have explicitly agreed to recoup their expenses if you fail, which would be pretty weird for them to demand--businesses also spend money on background checks and don't ask people to repay them if they fail).

  1. I imagine that getting drug-tested in Canada will be acceptable, just contact the employer and ask them where the lab should send the results to, usually it would be the company's HR office. In my experience when an employer requires a drug test they either give me a date that I have to do it, or they say it has to be scheduled within 3-5 days.

  2. Again I would expect that they want you tested prior to "investing" travel money and other expenses. Also if you fail the test I'm sure any offers will be revoked and you won't be given a position. Any reputable company won't care that you're being hired for a specific job, they would much rather have someone that fits their needs even if it takes longer than have somebody that fails a pre-employment test.

  • So as for the investment part, they are already moving forward with the travel bookings and visa application. And they haven't said anything about the drug test yet Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 14:56
  • A travel booking isn't set in stone though. Tickets and hotels can be cancelled or refunded. A company "wasting" money on a plane ticket is a negligible expense in the general scheme of things. I guarantee though that if you fail the drug test they will rescind the offer. Whether or not they pay to fly you back home is a discussion to be had with them.
    – Pork Pants
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 15:42
  • I was considering the event where I would do the test after I fly there so they can't get a refund at that point Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 17:20
  • In that case you could possibly have your offer rescinded and then you might have to pay for your own flight home, again depending on the company. If you fail the test you break that contingency in the offer and depending on the wording in their documents they might send you home, you might have to pay your own way back, or they could possibly seek compensation for the costs from you. It seems clear that if you took the test now you will fail, so honestly this is a choice you made and you need to deal with the consequences of your decision.
    – Pork Pants
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 17:35
  • Drug tests normally take several days to get back. Any offer extended will be on the condition the rest come back negative for any illegal substances
    – Donald
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 15:36

The main thing you need to do is to see how long weed stays in your system, and schedule the test after that amount of time + some "just in case" buffer. If you need to travel to the US for that test, that gives you a lot of leeway to arrange a "convenient" time - because you simply can't miss your sister's wedding tomorrow, your curling tournament the next day (you're Canadian, they'll believe you), and your doctor appointment the day after that.

It may be easier and cheaper for everyone if you can take the test in Canada, so it could be worthwhile to ask the company if that is an option for purely practical reasons.

When a company schedules a drug test, they are saying "we want to make sure you will stop drugs if it would affect your work", they are NOT saying "we want to make sure you never use drugs". Many companies will not care about marijuana, they care that you can test clean when they tell you that you need to test clean. HOWEVER, it does depend on the company and the work they/you do - police, airline pilots, and some other fields require the person to be clean 24/7, and some government contractors have similarly strict requirements. Meth, heroine, and other life-destroying drugs are a different story and no company wants to deal with that.

  • Most of the time companies don't allow the candidate to schedule the appointment because of this. Every time I've needed a drug test I have been given a specific date, or they say that the test needs to be taken within 3 days or the offer is rescinded.
    – Pork Pants
    Commented Mar 17, 2017 at 17:37

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