Risk & Business Magazine McFarlan Rowlands Magazine Winter 2018 - Page 31

THE CANNABIS ARTICLE TITLE ACT Discussing marijuana with the management of your company and with employees is not restricted, so why not take the time to do it? Whether being used recreationally or medically, cannabis is likely to be used by one or more of your employees. With that in mind, making your expectations clear regarding cannabis use is something that should be done to make everyone aware of the policies that you have in place. The social stigma may be gone, but the potential for workplace accidents or impairments is here to stay, so make sure you are doing what you can to mitigate those risks. SO WHAT STEPS CAN AN EMPLOYER TAKE TO HELP HANDLE THE CHANGES? WELL, HERE ARE A FEW TO START OUT WITH: Discuss with your staff the expectations that you have moving forward with regard to marijuana. It will have been easy for employees to falsely assume that they are allowed to smoke at work or to begin work while under the influence. Both of these assumptions are wrong. During onboarding, training, and regular staff meetings, ensure that you are reminding your employees that recreational use during working hours is prohibited. Marijuana can still be used for the treatment of illnesses or medical conditions. Thus, it is important to accommodate the health needs of your employees in your policies and procedures as well. How do you handle prescription marijuana use? Understanding the impact that marijuana can have on the workplace is also important, not only with regard to morale but also with regard to performance and motivation in general. Having this understanding will lend itself to the creation of a truly functional and effective drug policy. Keep in mind that if you put a policy in place, it also means that you have to enforce it. So if someone is breaking your policies, you will have to discipline them for that. Disciplining of employees can create awkward and tough situations, but it must be done. Ensure your current drug policies are updated. Your guidelines need to communicate new rules post-Cannabis Act and should include information about testing procedures and the times when testing can take place. Though usage in general is no longer illegal, you still have the right as an employer to restrict possession and use in the workplace. Part of this policy needs to define the differences between recreational and medical use. That can be a lot to take in, but the key idea in all of this is to be prepared with a policy and procedures in place so that you won’t be caught off guard by any issues relating to marijuana. Establishing or updating your drug policy is the way to do that. Communicating those changes to employees in a clear way is the next logical step. WHAT MIGHT YOU NEED TO INCLUDE IN YOUR POLICY? The list is almost endless: definitions of drugs, definitions of workplaces, whether the language you use in the policy with regard to alcohol can be extended to marijuana, whether recreational use can occur during breaks or company functions, how long a sober period before work may be, and whether marijuana addiction or medical usage needs to be disclosed, among other things. 31