BEING STONED DURING WORK HOURS: THE FACTS BEHIND THE LIES

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There are millions of Americans who stone for leisure. Following the legalization of recreational weed in California, people with marijuana-related offenses have started to file for their records to be reduced or completely expunged. Data recently gathered estimates applications in California to be a little bit shy of 2 million. More than 90% of the applicants need to lose their criminal records to be eligible for employment. Employers are very wary of staff who pay regular visits to a cannabis dispensary, so, they test employees periodically. What does this imply? Employers usually want workers that do not use drugs, and would not hire one who does, or someone who has a drug-related history. This may be related to incidents of accidents, absence from work, or reduced performance. Is it just about personal safety at work? Does the use of recreational cannabis affect employers’ businesses? Will smoking weed during working hours impair a user’s professional behavior?

All workers are affected by the drug-use discrimination. They would have job descriptions that: (1) are physical and/or mental-intensive; (2) require multitasking; (3) safety regulated; and (4) need little or no supervision. The real question the situation poses, however, is this: Following the legalization of recreational weed in California, will offices, banks, medical institutions, and construction sites be filled with stoned workers? An attempt to answer this question should take us on an incursion into establishing the truth, about the impact of marijuana use in the workplace.

For example, a worker visits a cannabis dispensary or patronizes a weed delivery service during the weekend, then gets involved in an incident on Monday. He gets tested and results come in indicating that he has tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in his urine. He gets fired for gross misconduct from his place of work. Reason? His impairment as a result of marijuana use put other workers at risk.

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Are Accidents in The Workplace Caused by Marijuana Abuse ?

Often times, studies have been conducted on the impact of marijuana on productivity in work places—if there are connections between marijuana use and the causes of injuries and accidents. Some claim to have found evidence of such occurrences. Accidents, strife, and interpersonal conflicts were reported as a result of workers being stoned during working hours. The results are however, non-conclusive, as other findings could not establish an association between these instances. Accidents, injuries, and conflicts may occur or arise from many other factors besides marijuana use. Evidence till this date are found to be contingent of many factors.

Last year, reports from six studies by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences reveal that the health effects of marijuana use does not have sufficient proof to either establish or refute claims that it is linked to accidents or conflicts in corporate settings.

Safety Requirement for Driving

It has been established in some way, that impairment affects driving. But how cannabis use impairs a driver’s judgment hasn’t yet been established. Drug use may impede reaction time while driving, and so can any other factor influence the same reaction. Driving is a learned activity that allows a driver to multitask. Distractions and accidents may occur while a driver is engaged. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s because they are stoned.

No Evidence for Serious Impairment

Most of the evidence gathered against marijuana use in the workplace in relation to accidents come from investigations carried out after the occurrence. Workers involved in the situation get tested following the incident. This kind of research also produce inconsistent results due to the methods involved and difficulties encountered while conducting one. And so far, there is no general agreement as to what level of THC in the human body fluids that indicate serious impairment.

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What the Government Needs to do

—-> There should be a clear and consistent legal definition of “impairment” and the basis on which workers can be tested as regards cannabis use.

—-> Recreational marijuana should be labelled with the relevant details on THC and potency level of the product, to guide users on what quantity to use. Only then can the problems associated with cannabis use in the workplace can be solved.

A zero-tolerance marijuana-use policy in the workplace cannot resolve the problem. Are employers supposed to discriminate against workers who use weed to treat or reduce the symptoms of a health condition? In states or provinces where recreational use of weed is permitted, a “per se limit” on the amount of marijuana in the blood or urine should also be set as a guideline. There should also be consensual, but reasonable methods of dealing with stoned drivers as they may not necessarily be impaired as at the time accosted.

Some symptoms of marijuana use may be observable, but so also are positive effects like happiness, momentary increase in mental acuity, relaxation, and even increased appetite.

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Comments (1)

  1. Avatar for Stevens Stevens January 29, 2018 / 9:40 am / Reply

    Well written. Mental relaxation is important part of our daily life.

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