The rules and regulations regarding the consumption of marijuana are changing, and employers are having a hard time keeping up with the change. Gone are the days where employers had a set policy on marijuana, which paralleled that of the state.

Now, with widespread legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada and chances of legalization in the United States as well, it is time that employers make a definite policy of their own on the subject matter.

To make a definite policy about marijuana usage, employees need to study the following things in more detail:

Does Legalization of Marijuana Allow Employees to be Impaired at Work?

The legalization of recreational marijuana will not allow employees to show up ‘high’ at work. The employer will set specific rules pertaining to marijuana consumption at the workplace, which might be similar to the rules on consumption of alcohol at the office.

Employees who use marijuana for medical purposes will be granted leverage because of the complexity of their condition. Other than that, no use of marijuana will be allowed within working hours and employees would also be specifically asked to not turn up to the workplace under the influence of marijuana.

Should Duty to Accommodate Extend to Medical Marijuana?

As per the duty to accommodate, set by the federal human rights legislations, organizations should allow disabled employees the option to use medical marijuana. Employees taking marijuana for medical purposes should be accommodated in a similar manner to any other employee given a prescription for use.

How Far Does the Duty to Accommodate Employees Extend?

The duty of accommodating employees who consume medical marijuana should be extended to certain limits. These limits should be governed by the following rules.

  • Any given prescription for MMJ use, doesn’t determine that the person should consume MMJ or be impaired in the workplace.
  • A prescription of MMJ is not in any way a permit for an employee to compromise their own safety along with that of those near them.
  • No employee should smoke within the work area if you don’t allow it. A prescription for MMJ should be no different. Ask them to consume MMJ through alternative methods, or go somewhere else for the occasional smoke.
  • The employer should, however, find a decent accommodation for employees that require MMJ during work hours, as part of the prescription. This should be similar to what the employers would do for an employee prescribed any other drug.

At JS Benefits Group, we can help you identify HR details, including the things you should know about marijuana in the workplace. Get in touch with us to know more about what we offer, and how we can help you.