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.