5 Tips for Employers to Deal With Legal Use of Marijuana
Recreational use of marijuana has been getting a lot of traction in the U.S. nowadays. People are using it for ailments, stress release, glaucoma, and many of its medical benefits.
With legalization for its use and production in 23 states of California, those who opposed it as a street corner vice have started to view it as a medicine. And the movement doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
However, it’s proving itself to be challenging for employers to adapt to its use in the workplace. The following tips will help you set your company on the right path and adapt to the legalization of weed/marijuana in your state:
1. Understanding The Laws
The most important thing to do before anything else is to educate yourself on your state laws. Some states require accommodation for its use, while others do not. Your state laws will determine whether you should allow it's used under certain conditions or strictly prohibit it.
If you have a zero tolerance policy, you might have to adapt to its use if your employee has a doctor’s prescription.
2. Respond Properly To Inquires
It can be hard to find a balance between the privacy of your employees and their productivity at work. Neither can be compromised of course. When you receive an employee query relating to the use of medical marijuana at work, a simple ‘No’ wouldn’t be a proper response.
It’s important that you respect your employee’s privacy and be considerate about their health. Make sure to ask them if they need any accommodation. Your job is not just to care about their work performance, but also their personal needs. Furthermore, prohibiting the use of prescribed medicine can lower their productivity, much more than you expect it to decline with its use. Just make sure that the medication is used in a responsible manner and doesn’t affect their job performance in a negative way.
3. Educate Your Employees
Even though marijuana doesn’t have any addictive properties, it’s consumption should be regulated. Studies have shown that recreational use of marijuana often leads to mild dependency. Even though many countries have begun to legalize weed, it’s long-term negative effects are still unexplored due to lack of research.
Educate your employees on all the potential negative effects that may arrive with its use. Bring in an expert every month or so to describe the safety measures one must take, the benefits, the side effects, the chemical properties of psychoactive compound ‘THC’, and then leave it to your employees to decide. This will ensure that they regulate their consumption, and let them know that you care about their well being.
4. Timely Inspections
Even if you have allowed your employees the use of prescribed weed, make sure they don’t do it at work. Your company policy for recreational use of marijuana should be similar to the existing policies for use of liquor. Never allow your employees to be under influence at work. Use of any psychoactive drugs should be strictly prohibited.
Timely conduct thorough inspections to make sure that it’s not consumed or smoked at work. Let your employees know the consequences of being under influence at work, and promise strict action.
5. Employee Feedback
If your employees are abusing the use of weed or come at work under its influence, just thorough inspections won’t be enough. As a matter of fact, it’s very hard to determine whether a person is high on marijuana. Urine/blood tests will only determine if it’s in their system, which doesn’t prove if they are high at work or did it at home. The obvious signs are puffy eyelids, slightly widened pupils, redness in eyes, slow reaction, and sweating. All of which can be symptoms of mild fever or illness.
The best way to determine whether someone is abusing it at work is to put your employees at work. Employ Your Safe Hub, an anonymous reporting system to provide your employees with a secure and anonymous channel to report such issues.
- Get a clear understanding of your state laws in relation to the use of medical marijuana.
- Properly respond to employee queries and requests.
- Organize sessions to educate your employees on the proper use, benefits, and harms of marijuana.
- Conduct thorough inspections to make sure it’s not abused at workplace.
- Employee Your Safe Hub to have your employees anonymously report it’s abuse at work.