Pot is now legal in some form in 28 states and Washington, DC. Legalization of marijuana is leaving many employers scratching their heads about drug testing and workplace safety. Lockton, the world’s largest privately held insurance broker, offers employers steps on keeping the workplace safe with new marijuana laws.
In her white paper “Support for Grass Grows,” Lockton’s Risk Control Services Expert Sarah Sullivan explains that public opinions continue to shift with 60 percent of the population now supporting legalization. While many associate marijuana use with younger people, the sharp increase in acceptance is most notable to the 55-and-over age range. A recent study found that when applicable Medicare enrollees were making use of medical marijuana.
What does this mean for those employing users of marijuana?
With safety as the main concern, Lockton recommends that employers focus on employee performance indicators as well as their training and hiring process.
Silverman outlines four steps employers can take to keep their workplace safe:
- Employers should review descriptions and ask questions. Would the off-duty use of marijuana affect an employee’s ability to perform job duties?
- Managers should receive training on how to recognize impairment.
- Determine if drug testing is the right fit for your company and, if so, in what capacity.
- Employers should consider alternatives to drug testing.
Research shows the effects of marijuana on the ability to work vary significantly across marijuana users and the type of work involved. Less than one third of studies found a correlation between marijuana use and decreased function. However, managers should receive training on how to recognize impairment and the correct procedures on how to document their observations.
Is marijuana use legal in your state? If so, has your company taken any steps to address this issue, and keep workers safe? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below.