Cannabis is one of the most used drugs in the history of mankind; it’s ought to be a disastrous one for all. However, this psychoactive drug is excellent for medicinal and recreational purposes. This is the main reason why this drug was legalized all across Canada as of October 17th, 2018.
With the legalization of any drug, there comes a question of substance abuse as it’s now available to a lot more people now.
So, what happened?
Because of the taboo surrounding the use of cannabis for the last half a decade, many employers, and people all around, were cautious about the new cannabis laws. They maintained extra caution while using cannabis.
However, the legalization of cannabis and its protection in the workplace takes many similar steps as the protection from alcohol in the workplace.
Both, for example, are a potential cause for substance abuse. This means that employers must be conscious of the possibilities for accommodating cannabis addiction in the same way that they are already providing accommodations for alcohol addiction. Therefore, the same steps, programs and support available for alcohol addiction should be provided to cannabis addicts.
Preventive Safeguards To Prevent Cannabis Abuse
So, how can employers take preventative safeguards against abuse and how can employees continue to feel safe in their workplaces? Again, it requires the same protections as one would apply against alcohol abuse:
- Policies: It is all about revising the policies that are in place. Most employers could not have anticipated the legalization of cannabis; thus, many workplace policies regarding substance abuse at the workplace need to revise their current policies to include cannabis.
- Education: Education is also important. Employers need to educate employees on the possible workplace hazards that come with using cannabis at work. This could mean more extensive training, safety hazards and whatnot put into place in order to effectively communicate to employees on how the workplace views the use of cannabis on the job.
- Testing: Currently, testing in the workplace for drugs and alcohol is limited to safety sensitive workplaces. Some employers may think this is unfair, but if you or your workplace has not been testing for alcohol previously, is there really a difference now that cannabis is becoming legalized? Do not let the taboo surrounding cannabis affect your judgement. So, as long as your policies and education are airtight, your workplace should be able to continue functioning.’’
The Bottom Line
Cannabis abuse can impair employees while they’re at work. Apart from this, an overdose might result in severe consequences of physical and mental health. Such substance abuse can be controlled or prevented by the same procedures in which alcohol abuse is controlled. This includes improving and implementing policies, educating people about the possible workplace hazards from using cannabis during work, and testing the blood drug level in employees. Consequently, these measures can greatly reduce and even prevent cannabis consumption in the workplace.
So, this is why employers and employees must keep in mind their rights and responsibilities in the workplace regarding the new cannabis legalization.
As long as they continue to be mindful of such, the workplace and everyone within can work continue to work safely, efficiently, and cohesively.
If you require any employment law related legal help, Osuji & Smith lawyers is the place to go. With decades’ worth of experience, we can surely provide the best consulting and representation for your case.