In a move that will likely put a number of local pot dealers out of business, Hearst has apparently ordered the few remaining P-I reporters to undergo drug testing.
Staff members at the P-I have apparently all been required to take—and pass—a pee test in order to keep their jobs, and they could be subject to random testing in the future.
According to an e-mail from Hearst spokesman Paul Luthringer:
Drug testing is not a new policy within Hearst Newspapers and is among the best practice policies for many industries across the country for many reasons.
Drug testing may not be a new thing for Hearst, but it’s definitely something that’s new to the P-I. The P-I’s former sports staff were clearly a bunch of potheads and former P-I reporter Mike Lewis also made reference to the P-I’s pothead staff in his recent piece about the paper’s glory days:
They drank and detonated, married and remarried, and remarried. They smoked pot on the roof, ushered women into the newsroom and, much later, cigarettes and booze out.
Hearst's new drug test policy is likely a cost-saving measure as some insurance companies give breaks to companies who test their employees. Still, while Hearst may be looking to save cash everywhere it can, asking journalists to not use drugs is like asking a priest to keep his hands off little boys.