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How Can Employers Prepare for the Growing Legalization of Cannabis?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
How Can Employers Prepare for the Growing Legalization of Cannabis?

The legalization of cannabis continues to grow across the United States with Michigan’s recent entry as the 10th state to join on suit for recreational use. Beyond the 10, 33 states allow for the medical use of cannabis. In fact, 45% of the adult population in the United States have used cannabis, with 12% recorded as a current user. Now that we have some statistics, let us look at an important question: how can employers prepare for what is showing to be, a growing legalization?

As it stands, most states are silent regarding legal use of cannabis and employment. Many employers already have protocol in place, especially those in safety-sensitive, machine operating, caregiving or healthcare, and lastly financial access sectors. SAFETY is the reason for substance testing.  However, many of these testing methods cannot differentiate recent use from past use! Some employers continue to enforce a zero-tolerance policy as a condition of employment, and for employees who test positive after random and reasonable suspicion tests.

As more states move into the adoption on a recreational basis, the states, federal government, and employment laws will need to meet on the same page, which will only take more time. These show to pose a difficult time to find true solutions when in the hands of the federal and state governments. Beyond the government, a legal level of intoxication needs establishment.

The statistics on the abuse-side are somewhat alarming


Companies should utilize advising from consulting services whether that is a drug & abuse policy/procedures review, consistency of past occurrences, and program review for returning to work or a clinical relationship. These reviews can reveal important gaps and or opportunities to avoid the dangers and issues associated with impaired employees in the workplace, or more so the consequences thereafter.

As a wellness consultant, we are constantly preparing for a predicted future as it relates to the health, welfare, and wellbeing of an organizations most valuable assets, its employees. So, this leads us to conversations about not if, but when marijuana becomes legal – whether medically, recreationally, or both – in our home fronts. While cannabis usage is highly disputed as it relates to medical benefits, there are still facts that indicate physical harm to users, such as its exacerbation of asthma. Until its benefits are more readily researched, from an employee wellbeing perspective, this is an issue that wellness professionals need to wrap their arms around. From a safety standpoint. The legalization of marijuana is the opportunity to merge common initiatives to keep our workforces healthy and safe. The statistics can be alarming as evidence shows increase rates of work-related accidents. Productivity decreases. These cornerstone issues affect all human resources, wellness, and safety initiatives. While in this time of limbo, it is essential to know what you can do to be prepared. If you are interested in learning more about impairment testing or assistance in a D&A policy review, please contact Horton Safety Consultants for information. Horton Safety Consultants is a great service only accessible to our valued clients.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.