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Don’t Let Your Business Go Up In A Puff of Smoke: How State Marijuana Laws are Changing Business

17 Mar 2016

March 17, 2016 By Richard Dujovne

The legalization of marijuana is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the country with many states passing a variety of laws affecting the use of marijuana for recreational and or medical use even though it is still illegal under federal law. These changes are not only affecting the social landscape but also having a dramatic effect on business.

Currently, there are 23 states that have legalized the use of marijuana for medical use and 4 states, as well as the national’s capital, that allow for recreational use.  This has caused concern among employers and has led many businesses to revise or institute substance abuse or drug free workplace programs and policies. 

Legally, at least under some state laws, employees could be using marijuana and if is not addressed in your company’s policy, you may be opening your company up to safety issues and liability. While some argue the benefits of marijuana, it is clear that some forms do have an impairing affect on those that use it and that can be detrimental to the employee and those around especially if they are in safety sensitive positions or positions where they could cause harm if impaired.

It has been reported that “Employees who test positive [for marijuana use] have 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries, and absenteeism rates that are 75% higher than those who test negative.”  There is also a negative affect on the employee themselves. Studies have shown marijuana users to be impaired many hours after usage and even if an employee were to use the drug only in his or her free time, certain effects on the body could last up to 24 hours. These may include impairments to memory and decreased ability to process information at a normal rate. Other studies have shown a direct correlation between long-term use and effects on the brain impacting mental health as well as the decrease of IQ.  It revealed that marijuana users are six times more likely to be at risk of schizophrenia and at much higher risk of anxiety attacks and other mental related illnesses.

Even though some states have declared marijuana legal, it is still illegal under federal law. The U.S. Department of Transportation says “It remains unacceptable for any safety‐sensitive employee subject to drug testing under the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana.” Employees who use marijuana for medical purposes are not an exception to this policy even if legal in their state.

It is essential that the workplace be a safe environment for everyone and businesses must be aware of the rapidly changing laws surrounding marijuana legalization, the safety risks to employees who are users, and the effect it can have on co-workers and the public in general.  Don’t let your business go up in a puff of smoke because you failed to recognize issues affecting your company, your employees, and your customers. 

 

 

References

Randisi, James P. "How Do Employees Using Marijuana Affect Your Business?" www.preemploymentscreen.com. Randisi & Associates, Inc., 01 Oct. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2016. 

Ratini, Melinda. "Marijuana - Marijuana Use and Effects of Marijuana."      WebMD.WebMD, 09 Oct. 2014. Web. 09 Mar. 2016. 

Swart, Jim L. "DOT 'Medical' Marijuana Notice." Department of Transportation. U.S. Department of Transportation, 19 Nov. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.

 

March 17, 2016 By Richard Dujovne

 

 

The legalization of marijuana is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the country with many states passing a variety of laws affecting the use of marijuana for recreational and or medical use even though it is still illegal under federal law. These changes are not only affecting the social landscape but also having a dramatic effect on business.

 

Currently, there are 23 states that have legalized the use of marijuana for medical use and 4 states, as well as the national’s capital, that allow for recreational use.  This has caused concern among employers and has led many businesses to revise or institute substance abuse or drug free workplace programs and policies. 

 

Legally, at least under some state laws, employees could be using marijuana and if is not addressed in your company’s policy, you may be opening your company up to safety issues and liability. While some argue the benefits of marijuana, it is clear that some forms do have an impairing effect on those that use it and that can be detrimental to the employee and those around especially if they are in safety sensitive positions or positions where they could cause harm if impaired.

 

It has been reported that “Employees who test positive [for marijuana use] have 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries, and absenteeism rates that are 75% higher than those who test negative.”  There is also a negative affect on the employee themselves. Studies have shown marijuana users to be impaired many hours after usage and even if an employee were to use the drug only in his or her free time, certain effects on the body could last up to 24 hours. These may include impairments to memory and decreased ability to process information at a normal rate. Other studies have shown a direct correlation between long-term use and effects on the brain impacting mental health as well as the decrease of IQ.  It revealed that marijuana users are six times more likely to be at risk of schizophrenia and at much higher risk of anxiety attacks and other mental related illnesses.

 

Even though some states have declared marijuana legal, it is still illegal under federal law. The U.S. Department of Transportation says “It remains unacceptable for any safetysensitive employee subject to drug testing under the Department of Transportation’s drug testing regulations to use marijuana.” Employees who use marijuana for medical purposes are not an exception to this policy even if legal in their state.

 

It is essential that the workplace be a safe environment for everyone and businesses must be aware of the rapidly changing laws surrounding marijuana legalization, the safety risks to employees who are users, and the affect it can have on co-workers and the public in general.  Don’t let your business go up in a puff of smoke because you failed to recognize issues affecting your company, your employees, and your customers.

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Randisi, James P. "How Do Employees Using Marijuana Affect Your Business?" www.preemploymentscreen.com. Randisi & Associates, Inc., 01 Oct. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.

 

Ratini, Melinda. "Marijuana - Marijuana Use and Effects of Marijuana."      WebMD.WebMD, 09 Oct. 2014. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.

 

Swart, Jim L. "DOT 'Medical' Marijuana Notice." Department of Transportation. U.S. Department of Transportation, 19 Nov. 2015. Web. 09 Mar. 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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