How to talk about cannabis at work

Mar 28 2018, 4:17 am

Written for Daily Hive by Christopher, a budtender and content manager at Air Reserve Collection.

With the ongoing legalization of cannabis in Canada, USA, and around the world, watercooler conversations have turned from gossip to a gander, and weed is not as much of a taboo subject as it was in the not so distant past.

Colleagues may not be the ones to judge, however, remember that the criminal justice system will. Most employers have policies dealing with drug abuse. Depending on the industry and the nature of the employees’ duties, the employer’s approach to drug abuse and the penalties imposed may vary. Employers, generally adopt a zero-tolerance approach to the use of illegal drugs.

There are a number of ways employers may test for cannabis, including urine, hair, and blood tests. And, it might surprise you, but traces of cannabis can be detected as early as the first toke to six months after use.

With impending legalization, though, an open-minded approach in the workplace will be required for dealings with regards to the use of cannabis. An employee who has a puff in the morning before coming to work may be able to function at a much higher level even though technically they may be under the influence. And someone who used cannabis on a Friday will show traces of the drug if tested at work on Monday, even though they’re no longer under the influence.

A clear drug-and-alcohol policy will assist in establishing guidelines around what is acceptable, the consequences of non-compliance, and who to speak to for guidance.

Employers should include a specific section on medical cannabis outlining which forms of medical proof will be required. Creating a culture of openness, trust, and honesty can help employees feel more comfortable while encouraging respect for the employer’s policy choices.

Any policy aimed at addressing specifically the use of cannabis and its effects in the workplace, would have to take into account factors such as consent to the testing for cannabis, the manner of testing, the nature of the employer’s business, the employee’s duties, the circumstances under which the offence was committed, the observable extent of the impairment, and the employee’s history of cannabis use or other drug-related offences at work that may be applicable or relevant.

Crucial information for employers is that when employees present a prescription for medical marijuana, they have the same rights as employees using any other doctor-prescribed medication, and, therefore, undoubtedly deserve the same professional treatment.

Topics of discussion may include demystifying cannabis, efficacy as a medicine, as well as the different compounds in cannabis and how they affect people, explaining the difference between THC and CBD cannabis. Individuals should be prepared for questions that may come up, and understand the implications of the use of marijuana – both medical and recreational.

Large companies like Shoppers Drug Mart are already covering medical grade marijuana for their employees, with coverage of up to $1,500 per year to treat certain medical conditions.

As companies look for ways to grow around the ever-changing health industry and its group benefits plans, including medical marijuana coverage, they will need to adapt to include conditions listed and covered by cannabis.

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Christopher is a budtender and content manager at Air Reserve Collection, when he’s not doing research on latest strains and products for the store, he’s busy making cannabis chocolate covered strawberries and discovering new ways in incorporate cannabis into his morning smoothies.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Daily Hive. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.