The issue of cannabis use in the workplace has increased in importance after six more states legalized marijuana last November. Despite the obvious benefits of marijuana legally improving the health of a greater amount of people, employers are raising concerns over the possible negative impact of weed use on workplace safety and productivity. There is a list of the major issues employers have with marijuana use in the workplace.
The question of safety in weed consumption at work is positioned as the most disturbing for employers. Companies are concerned that cannabis usage may increase the number of job injuries and accidents because of marijuana's psychoactive effects. It is well known that marijuana can temporary impair body movements, slow down reaction, and reduce attention. Employees working at construction sites may deal with heavy equipment, operate transport vehicles, and so on. By consuming weed in the workplace, they put the lives of many people at risk.
Most companies spend many years on building a corporate culture that makes competition, professionalism, and success top priorities. Thus, cannabis is a nightmare for employers as its usage may destroy the main principles of the corporate culture. Could you imagine a multi-billion-dollar company stating that its workers consume marijuana? Such a statement can instantly devalue the company's share prices and harm its business reputation. Fortunately, the legislation of many states permits cannabis use in case it does not impact workplace safety. This may stimulate companies to revise their policy of ultimate prohibition of drugs and make an exception for some categories of their employees.
The legalization of recreational cannabis in some U.S. states has multiplied companies' concerns about the medical costs of employees. The main reason why employers strictly ban drug usage in the workplace is the risk of possible overdose. If an employee becomes over-intoxicated at work or their impairment condition leads to serious injuries, then the employer has to cover all medical costs. In such a case, the costs may be very high for a company's budget. That is why most companies try to avoid accidents induced by drug use and call for passing a law that would deny company's responsibility for accidents caused by marijuana intoxication.
Companies also worry that cannabis may hurt their profits, as stoned workers allegedly become less productive in the workplace and take more days of disability leave. However, some employers have changed their attitude to marijuana after its legalization. Those who have allowed pot usage in the workplace have noticed that cannabis increases the worker's productivity and reduces their absence because of health issues.
There is also the problem of compliance with the adopted drug bans. It is not enough to just establish the rules; the companies have to ensure that their employees follow them. To solve this issue, many employers are now implementing random drug tests, which are hard to conduct especially if the state has legalized the adult use of marijuana. Employees claim that they smoke cannabis before or after their working hours, but the compounds of weed stay in their blood long after pot consumption. However, companies are still desperately trying to protect their work environment. Thus, the battle between anti-cannabis employers and employees using marijuana continues with no end in sight.