Reasons why employers should support the responsible use of cannabis
With the legalization of marijuana in various states across the U.S., employers have been hesitant to discuss cannabis in the workplace. However, considering the increasing prevalence of cannabis use, employers need to consider its implications for their workforce.
According to New Frontier Data, 94% of U.S. adults reside in states where medical cannabis is legal, and over half of them live in states where both medical and recreational use is allowed. This intersection of recreational activities and professional life has resulted in a significant number of employees admitting to using marijuana during work hours, with more than 1 in 5 employees acknowledging such usage. Additionally, over 13% of people report using marijuana at work more than once a month, as reported by the American Addiction Centers.
Employers face the challenge of balancing the potential benefits and risks of cannabis use due to federal regulations. Despite the legalization of recreational cannabis in some states, confusion and stigma surrounding its use at work persist. However, implementing suitable programs can effectively support and protect those who use cannabis. It is important to provide guidance and knowledge to address concerns related to accessing and understanding cannabis. Supporting responsible cannabis use does not mean advocating its use, similar to how companies offer smoking cessation programs despite having fewer smokers than cannabis users. Individuals prescribed medicinal marijuana may face difficulties in communicating their treatment plans to employers. Bridging this gap and offering guidance is crucial, given the significant portion of cannabis expenditure dedicated to medicinal purposes.
Additionally, employees who use cannabis recreationally and responsibly may have concerns about random drug tests or potential judgment when seeking help. Programs focused on responsible cannabis use provide guidelines, access to clinicians, and support for individuals. Employers should treat cannabis use like other health and wellness initiatives and educate themselves to eliminate taboos. It is important to differentiate between cannabis use and impairment on the job, as employers have successfully managed similar issues with controlled substances in the past.