Saturday, August 20, 2022

Finnish Prime Minister Voluntarily Drug Tests After Party Video Released

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has voluntarily taken a drug test after a video surfaced of the 36-year-old dancing at a party.

"For my own legal protection -- although I consider the demand for a drug test unreasonable -- in order to erase such doubts, I have today taken a drug test," Marin told reporters. The call that she be tested came via a tweet from Mikko Karna, an opposition MP. 

“I wish we lived in a society where my word could be trusted. But when suspicions like this are raised here, that’s why I took these tests,” Marin said. She says she never took illegal drugs, and does admit to drinking alcohol at the party, saying, “I trust that people understand that leisure time and work time can be separated.” 

Marin, the world's youngest sitting Prime Minister, was Finland's transport minister and supports making the country carbon neutral by 2035. With her election, all five of Finland's major political parties are run by women, four of them in their 30s.  

Chilean deputy Marcela Riquelme
Meanwhile, according to Reuters, Chilean legislators will begin random drug testing in the next few days after a proposal making it compulsory was approved last month, despite criticism from some lawmakers. The first 78 Chilean deputies to be tested were randomly drawn this week, and will now have their first series of drug tests, in an effort to raise the standards of transparency in parliamentary work. The new proposal states that all legislators will need to be tested twice in every four-year term, and any positive results will be made public. 

“There is nothing more important than giving people transparency, that their parliamentarians are not [drug]consumers,” right-wing Deputy Juan Antonio Coloma told the country’s public TV channel on Thursday.  The Chilean proposal, however, has divided lawmakers along party lines in a country that is in the process of voting on a new constitution, looking to overhaul national politics. “I do not agree with the procedure,” independent legislator Marcela Riquelme, the first openly lesbian deputy in the country, told TV Nacional de Chile, with others calling the measure an “unacceptable show.” Legislators who refuse to take tests could be referred to the house ethics committee. 

Calls for US public officials to be drug tested never seem to result in our electeds subjecting themselves to the same treatment as many of our country's workers. A recent report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that, while drug testing has been on the decline since the Covid epidemic, 10-27% of businesses continue to drug test prospective or current employees, and larger companies are more likely to do so, meaning a larger percentage of the labor force is still subjected to it. Blue-collar workers and people of color are more likely to be tested than are white, white-collar workers, increasing the injustice. Meanwhile, some large companies like Amazon, Costco, and Apple have stopped testing for marijuana – and their businesses seem to be doing just fine. 

Ironically, had Prime Minister Marin taken a drug like MDMA or cocaine, that would have been undetectable days later in a blood or urine test, while inactive metabolites of marijuana can be detected for days or weeks after use in people's piss. The situation, and growing support for marijuana legalization,  has lead to calls for banning job discrimination based on testing for inactive metabolites that have nothing to do with job performance. Even the US trucking industry is looking at switching up their drug testing requirements; our severe driver shortage began just after a national clearinghouse on drug test results for drivers took effect.

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