What legalization means for workplace cannabis use
Statistics Canada carries out a National Cannabis Survey and releases results four times each year. The findings issued in May noted that of those people who use cannabis daily or almost daily, 27 per cent consumed the drug just before starting work or during working hours. Of casual consumers, seven per cent said they have used cannabis while at work.
This is concerning.
Here in Canada, the use of recreational cannabis was legalized last year, but edible products made with the drug only became legalized last month.
But if you don’t live in Canada, why should you care?
Because drugs and alcohol exist everywhere, and businesses need policies in place to deal with issues that arise from their use – whether it’s legal or illegal.
This is where you as a trainer come in, offering these workplaces courses such as Cannabis and the Workplace, and Code of Conduct: Setting the Tone for Your Workplace, which can help them navigate these situations.
Many jurisdictions have made the medical use of cannabis legal and some have decriminalized its recreational use. Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and alcohol can be used inappropriately or abused as well. It’s important for employees to know what is acceptable and not acceptable regarding the use of these substances.
Cannabis impairment period
Health Canada says impairment can last for more than 24 hours after using cannabis. THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, can impair the ability to drive safely and operate equipment, as well as increase the risk of falls and other accidents. This is because it can affect coordination, reaction time, the ability to pay attention, decision-making, and the capacity to judge distances.
This is why it’s imperative that employees aren’t impaired while working.
Workplace approaches to cannabis use
The Conference Board of Canada conducted a study about the impact of cannabis legalization on Canadian organizations, releasing the results in August. Acting on the Cannabis Act: Workplace Policy Approaches to Cannabis found that although it took place a year ago, many workplaces still aren’t properly prepared.
- Prior to cannabis legalization, only 76 per cent of organizations updated their policies related to cannabis.
- Sixty per cent of organizations that participated in the survey don’t have a definition of impairment, which means that employees may not fully understand how to comply with policies.
- Only one third of responding organizations indicated they would directly provide employees with education or information about cannabis use.
If the same is true in other countries, then businesses need to be made aware of the risks involved, and they need training in how to implement the proper policies and procedures. This includes education for managers, supervisors, and employees.
These statistics, combined with those from the National Cannabis Survey, show just how important it is for companies to establish policies, and for employees to be aware of them and to thoroughly understand them.
Help the organizations you provide training for — include Cannabis and the Workplace, and Code of Conduct: Setting the Tone for Your Workplace as part of your training offerings.