Does your boss let you smoke weed at work?

Published Oct 18, 2019 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / The Cannabiz Agency

As we approach the first anniversary of recreational cannabis use becoming legal in Canada, one of the most asked questions by potential employees is, are you able to smoke weed at work?

Unfortunately, the answer is probably not. Unless, of course, you are fortunate enough to be working in a business that allows you to toke during or before working hours, as most laborer positions require that a person show up sharp enough to do the job safely. So, if you do not have a medical marijuana prescription, the workplace does not have to accommodate your cannabis indulgence regardless of its legal status.

While this might be frustrating, a person does not have the right to report to work impaired, and many companies have changed their policies of prohibited activities on the property to include vaping and cannabis use. The legalization of cannabis and smoking weed at work have nothing in common, and at most jobs, mind-altering substances, including alcohol are entirely out of the question.

Jobs that allow you to smoke weed while putting in your hours

  • Musician: For years, the blending of music and cannabis have been synonymous.

  • Free-lance worker: This job allows you to partake at any time of the day or work hours, as your home is also your office.

  • Dispensary owner: Smoking before work and having the delicious odor of Girl Scout Cookies on you will not be frowned upon as a budtender or dispensary owner.

  • Pizza Delivery Driver: Driving while intoxicated is unsafe, however, on your downtime, after work or before, it is not frowned upon to toke, and sometimes it is even part of the pizza delivery regime

How long does weed stay in your system?

For safety reasons whether you are smoking weed at work or beforehand, you do need to take precautions. Marijuana can stay in the system for many hours after ingestion, depending on your method of consumption and tolerance level. Oral options can last for up to twelve hours and smoking a regular joint will wear off in 2-6 hours.

How would an employer know that you are using marijuana?

Workers often question how an employer would know if they had participated in using cannabis before work, and that is a valid question that is worth looking into, as there are a few different rules depending on the region that you reside within.

Is my employer legally able to perform a drug test on me?

There is a short answer to this often asked question, and it is no. At least, not in Canada, as this action violates the Human Rights Code and is an infringement on a worker's right to protection of privacy. In Canada, workers generally have the security of not being tested for drugs, legal or illegal, and alcohol use. However, the United States allows for regular frug testing, and there are some circumstances even in Canada where employers have the right to test for cannabis use. These conditions are rare and must be very specific.

The positions are exempt from protection against drug testing in Canada

  1. Extremely dangerous workplaces: An example of this environment would be where the worker's drug impairment could cause catastrophic results. Airline employees, including pilots, are on this list.

  2. Reasonable suspicion of impairment could legally put you in a position that drug testing is legal. This situation is primarily caused by an employee who has had an accident on his or her shift. An example would be a fork-lift driver who is involved in an incident or a near-miss crash on the company floor.

  3. As part of a rehabilitation plan for returning to work, an employee may be subjected to random drug testing.

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