Episode 372 – The New Cannabis Workplace

Betty Aldworth and Heather Sullivan join first-time host Brian Adams to talk about the evolution of marijuana use by workers, the push to drive social equity through delivery licensing, and possible revisions to medical marijuana laws in states like Colorado. Produced by Shea Gunther.

Photo: Hugo Chisholm/Flickr

Cannabis in the Workplace: A Guide For Employees and Employers

Nearly 75% f the country has legalized cannabis to some extent – either medical, recreational, or both – which begs the question, how are employers dealing with the rapidly changing laws in their regions?

As of election day, November 3rd, 2020, a total of 36 states, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Island have approved comprehensive medical cannabis programs. Out of those, 15 states have legalized adult-use marijuana. Recreational is even legal in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., where you will find a robust legal market.

Despite all of that, marijuana is still federally illegal. This presents many unique challenges for employers who maintain drug testing policies and have concerns about productivity and workplace safety, as well as issues for employees who may be denied employed for cannabis use when they are responsible users who are otherwise, completely qualified.

How are these issues being resolved? Is common ground between employees and employers achievable?

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Medical use vs recreational use

When it comes to denying employment based on cannabis use, a very important distinction is whether the patient uses it recreationally or medicinally. Outlined under state laws, marijuana can be prescribed for a variety of preapproved conditions. If someone is using marijuana for panic attacks, for example, this could warrant random, all-day availability and use.

“Employers must understand their rights and duties when it comes to drug testing because state laws are evolving,” said David Reischer, attorney and CEO of LegalAdvice.com. “Marijuana is still federally illegal, and employers generally are allowed to have a drug-free workplace and to enforce zero-tolerance policies.”

It’s imperative that employers know if any of their employees are medical marijuana patients; and whether there are state laws protecting their usage and shielding them from legal and employment repercussions. Firing someone for using legally prescribed medication is grounds for a lawsuit.

“A company needs to be careful when disciplining medical marijuana users,” said Reischer. “Several states have specific laws protecting medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination. Typically, employers can require drug testing before employment and at random times, so long as there is no discrimination against medical marijuana users [who] are legally allowed cannabis for medicinal reasons.”

In recreational markets, many employees would argue that cannabis use when they’re off the clock should be permitted, adding that, as long as workplace performance is not affected, it’s none of their employers’ business what they do in their free time, comparing it to having a drink after work. Valid point.

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Workplace safety

When it comes to employee cannabis consumption, one of the most common concerns among employers is safety, especially with jobs that involve driving, heavy machinery, or anything where there will be physical contact between the employee and a customer (i.e. physical therapist, nurse, doctor, chiropractor, masseuse, etc.).

Another issue in this same vein, is the disbursement of workers’ compensation and how that would be impacted by employee cannabis use. In Wisconsin, for example, if an employee is injured in the workplace while intoxicated under any controlled substance, including cannabis and other prescription drugs, the employer can then reduce the workers’ comp indemnity benefits by 15%, with a maximum allowed reduction of $15,000. In Michigan, workplace injuries sustained while intoxicated are not covered by worker’s comp at all. Failing a drug test,

In an interesting twist, a study published in the Health Economics journal found that in states with medical cannabis programs, there was a 7% decrease in workers’ compensation claims. We’re not sure why this noticeable drop occurred, but it’s possible that instead of claiming workers’ comp, employees chose to self-medicate and treat their work-related ailments with marijuana.

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Onsite consumption

This is an interested topic and, obviously, 100% at the employer’s discretion. And while you might expect the answer to be a clear-cut “no”, many employers actually allow their workers to consume cannabis on their breaks, if it helps foster creativity and productivity.

According Steve Nelson Jr., owner of Denver cannabis club iBAKE, he finds that allowing on-site consumption helps build rapport with his customers, while establishing a relaxing environment for his employees.

“We’ve noticed that when we hire employees that do not smoke, our members get a little worried [and wonder] why,” Nelson said. “We also have found that, for most employees, it does not affect their work. It’s not for all businesses or for all employees,” he said. “[Employers] need to take careful consideration to what … your employee will be doing. Some tasks are not OK to perform while high.”

Neighboring California, the largest cannabis market in the world, and home to many west coast transplants, people have had their eye on Arizona for the last few years. This month, recreational marijuana was legalized in the Grand Canyon state, and overall, there seems to be a traditional approach to workplace cannabis consumption.

“It will be treated in Arizona now as any other legal drug,” said attorney Bob St. Clair. “Similar say to alcohol or cold medicine.” St. Clair said he expects employers will take a similar approach to their employees using recreational marijuana.

“Employer workplace rules will not primarily change as a result of the recreational aspect,” he said. Prop 207 gives employers the right to have a drug-free workplace. An employer isn’t required to allow or accommodate use, consumption or possession at work. “Moderate use makes more sense than anything else,” St. Clair said. “If you show up at work and you’re obviously high, you’re going to get sent home just like if you show up at work and you’re obviously intoxicated.”

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Employer response

Some employers aren’t swayed at all and are maintaining a zero-tolerance policy against cannabis use, whether on or off the clock. At one of these jobs, if the employee fails a random drug test they will either be disciplined or fired.

Others are taking a more personalized approach and only penalizing employees for cannabis use when it’s clear their performance at work has declined. According to Derek Riedle, owner of cannabis lifestyle company Civilized, we can safely look at this like the banking dilemma. There are ways around it, but for the most part, employers want to play it safe and keep their workplace drug policies as strict as possible. In some cases, it’s better for insurance reasons and the bottom line.

“We’re seeing more and more employers revisit their workplace rules around cannabis, but because it remains illegal at a federal level in the U.S., most companies still have a zero-tolerance policy,” Riedle said. “It’s more common to see employers loosen up their regulations for patients with a valid medical cannabis card, but even that is not guaranteed.”

“As an employer, I have no plans to relax any drug policies in and around my work environment as we move forward in this new era of cannabis tolerance and legality,” said Abtin Hashemian, owner of a Los Angeles-based Subway franchise. “[Against] the backdrop of legalization in California, I’ve had to terminate employment for several of our employees due to performance-related issues stemming from cannabis intoxication while on the clock.”

Hashemian said his franchise’s high-performance and results-oriented culture is important to him, so he feels obligated to act when productivity is impacted. However, Hashemian added that he is certain many well-performing employees consume cannabis off the clock and that he is ultimately indifferent to it as long as their work remains up to par.

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Tips for employees

As a pot smoking worker, you will have to accept the fact that even if marijuana use is legal in your state, there are some jobs you just won’t be able to get without passing a drug test. Other legal substances, alcohol for example, can also be prohibited. In some regions, even cigarettes can be against workplace policy. For example, many fire departments in California will not hire cigarette smokers because it can impact their health and performance on the job.

If you work somewhere that doesn’t drug test, you’re pretty much golden as long as productivity and performance remain up to par. When it comes to medical patients, employees should consider consulting with an attorney to determine what their rights are and how to best proceed. If possible, find employers who are cannabis-friendly, so you’re not left high and dry by a surprise drug test and termination.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re an employee or an employer, the cannabis-workplace relationship can be complicated. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but the good news is that more and more states are implementing laws to protect cannabis uses from workplace discrimination. On the other side of the coin, many employers are finding that off-the-clock cannabis consumption has no negative impact on workplace performance, and as a result, are changing up their company drug policies for the better.


RESOURCES:

Synthetic Cannabinoids (Are they synthetic cannabinoids safe?)
The Endocannabinoid System Explained (Why Cannabis Is Good for Our Bodies)
Everything You Need To Know About CBD Isolate (a deep look into hemp extracts)

Cannabinoids 101 – Spotlight on CBN (Cannabinol)
Your Complete Guide to EU GMP-Certified CBD Isolate and Distillate – Spotlight on the regulated EU market

Everything You Need To Know About CBG Isolate
Newest Cannabinoid Powerhouse – CBC – What Can It Do for You?
What is DELTA 8 THC (FAQ: Great resource to learn about DELTA 8THC)
The CBD Flowers Weekly newsletter (your top resource for all things smokable hemp flowers)
The Medical Cannabis Weekly newsletter (International medical cannabis business report)
The Legal Landscape Of CBD Hemp Flower In Europe

The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter (All you need to know about Delta 8 THC)
Regulators Go After Smokable Hemp Flower – What Does The Future Hold?
The Complex Issue of Marijuana and Hemp Business and Legalization On Tribal Land
Government Assistance Options for U.S. Hemp Farmers Affected By COVID-19

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Surprising and Legal Ways You Can Earn from Cannabis

Cannabis products are slowly being accepted mainstream because legislation across different countries and states already legalized its usage. This proves to be quite beneficial for individuals who need it the most, particularly those with underlying medical conditions that can be treated with the use of cannabis. Nevertheless, more and more states are easing out their […]

The post Surprising and Legal Ways You Can Earn from Cannabis appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.

Monday, January 13, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, January 13, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// California Governor Proposes Changes To Marijuana Regulations And Taxes (Marijuana Moment)

// South Dakota governor drops plans to veto hemp, but calls for ‘guardrails’ (Boston Globe)

// How massive donations from Howard G. Buffett helped block the opening of a pot dispensary in Illinois (Intercept)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Trulieve Sues Short-Seller Grizzly Research LLC for Libel (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Arizona legislature opens with a flurry of cannabis bills (Leafly)

// Washington state eyes marijuana enforcement changes after study (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Using marijuana is legal – but it can still get you fired. ‘Human resource professionals in Illinois will have their hands full.’ (Chicago Tribune)

// Murky Waters: How ‘Nano’ CBD Misleads Consumers (Ganjapreneur)

// Hawaii’s Marijuana Decriminalization Law Is Officially In Effect (Marijuana Moment)

// The Hemp Standard is 0.3% THC. That Should Be Changed. (Canna Law Blog)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Monday, January 13, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily NewsPhoto: 401(K) 2012/Flickr

Thursday, February 20, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, February 20, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Colorado Sold $1.75 Billion in Weed Last Year Exceeding All Expectations (Merry Jane)

// USDA Touts Hemp Industry’s Growth But Says Challenges Remain (Marijuana Moment)

// Alabama Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Virginia Marijuana Decriminalization Gets Closer To Governor’s Desk With New Amendments (Marijuana Moment)

// Most of Pennsylvania’s Medical Cannabis Patients Pay Over $200 a Month for Weed (Merry Jane)

// Is the Price of Legal Weed Going to Be Way Too Expensive in 2020? (Merry Jane)

// Legal marijuana use still costs people jobs. A new California bill takes on the issue (LA Times)

// New Utah Bill Lets Employers Discriminate Against Medical Marijuana Patients (Merry Jane)

// The buzz on Utah’s fledgling medical cannabis program (Leafly)

// At this high school apparently weed is okay- but only if you’re white (Leafly)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: mrBunin/Flickr

Wednesday, March 11, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, March 11, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// The CDC’s coronavirus failure was predicted by its VAPI response (Leafly)

// Mississippi Medical Marijuana Measure At Risk After House Approves Alternate Ballot Question (Marijuana Moment)

// Iowa House passes bill changing THC limit in state’s medical marijuana program (Des Moines Register)


These headlines are brought to you by MJToday Media, publishers of this podcast as well as our weekly show Marijuana Today and the most-excellent Green Rush Podcast. And check out our new show Weed Wonks!


// FDA Invites The Public To Submit More Comments On CBD (Marijuana Moment)

// California passes $1 billion in cannabis tax revenue two years after launching legal market (OC Register)

// Columbia Care Reports $23 Million Revenue in Q4 and Sees 2020 Exceeding $155 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// The Green Organic Dutchman Takes $127 Million Charge In Fourth Quarter (Green Market Report)

// NJ medical marijuana: State’s top court says patients can’t be fired (North Jersey)

// Canada Defends Marijuana Legalization In Response To International Skepticism (Marijuana Moment)

// Toronto’s New Ketamine Clinic Offers Treatment by Tripping Through K-Holes (Merry Jane)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: 葉 正道 Ben/Flickr

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, April 14, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Aurora Files New Offering, Does Reverse Split To Avoid NYSE Delisting (Green Market Report)

// How the coronavirus crisis is reshaping the cannabis industry for the long term (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Colorado Governor Asks Congress To Let Marijuana Businesses Get Coronavirus Aid Funds (Forbes)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Growing hemp is a new option for struggling Florida farmers. Licenses go online soon. (Miami Herald)

// Marijuana retailers recruiting Mass. attorney general in quest to reopen (Taunton Daily Gazette)

// Could Sanders Convince Biden To Back Legal Marijuana With New Joint Working Group? (Marijuana Moment)

// Nevada’s Planet 13 cannabis firm ends $10 million deal to enter California (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Cannabis producer Hexo raises CA$46 million in public offering (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Massachusetts marijuana commission member stepping down (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Cresco Labs Expanding Local Workforce to Hire Displaced Workers; Providing Extra Support to Employees in Response to COVID-19 (New Cannabis Ventures)


Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Marco Verch/Flickr