Cannabis in the workplace

Published Feb 20, 2019 02:06 p.m. ET

Guide to weed use at work post-legalization

Marijuana rules have changed in the workplace since the legalization of weed in Canada for recreational use on October 17, 2018.

Employers are erring on the cautious side as far as marijuana use is concerned. The levels of safe consumption are still being addressed. The dosing is imprecise, and the effects that are felt are unpredictable. The method of consumption, the potency, the duration and the altered state of consciousness that the person experiences are unpredictable. Employers whose companies have priorities in safety have very restricted guidelines for employees. Airlines have mandated zero tolerance for the use of recreational cannabis when the employee is off work.

Office jobs keep the same rules regarding the use of recreational marijuana. If you do not have a prescription for legal medical marijuana, the workplace does not have to accommodate your marijuana habit.

Companies have considered the impact of recreational marijuana and have divided the issues into three categories:

• Impairment the company’s position is that no person is entitled to be at work in an impaired state. This applies to medical and recreational use.
• Smoking cannabis in the workplace will be in the same category as any smokable or vapor substance, including cannabis and tobacco.
• Medicinal use of marijuana will be treated the same as any prescribed medicinal use. The medicinal marijuana user will be accommodated in the workplace; this is providing that smoking or impairment rules are not compromised.

Cannabis will not be accepted at work. Companies will not be responsible for people who are high at work. Intoxication with alcohol, cannabis or any other drug is prohibited.

The top concerns of employers since the legalization of marijuana took effect:

  1. Employees operating motor vehicles
  2. Disciplinary procedures
  3. Decreased work performance
  4. Heavy machinery use
  5. Attendance

Companies that supply drug benefits for their employees are under pressure. Most benefit packages do not cover medical marijuana use. Though the potential for the company to save money if medical marijuana is includedin their package is quite high. The price of one pill for nausea is $40.00, the price of a joint maybe $4.00.

Drug testing by employees should be revisited for their policy on drug impairment in the workplace — currently the method for establishing the level of impairment innot established. Employers are looking for a clear method for testing.

To assist employerswith establishing the guidelines for marijuana use the government needs to establish a precise legal definition of impairment.

The employer should clearly state to its employees what will be acceptable consumption of marijuana while in the employment of the company. Depending on the sensitivity, safety should be an essential part of the policies regarding marijuana use. The company needs to address and communicate any disciplinary actions that will be implemented by the company.

I think as adults we should be conscientious regarding the use of marijuana in the workplace. My suggestion unless you are a medical marijuana user is to leave your stash at home. Wait till you can enjoy and relax with your favorite bud outside of work hours.

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