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Allowing Marijuana Use in Your Florida Workplace

Posted: February 27, 2019

Specific to Construction Industry with a high population of marijuana smokers. 

  • Florida law – currently you can’t smoke marijuana even if you have a medical marijuana card.
  • Company decision must be made: Will company accommodate a medical marijuana patient.  If the answer is yes, advice is to have a fit for duty medical exam for safety sensitive positions.
  • CBD – take at your own risk, it is not supposed to have THC which will cause a positive test for marijuana but since unregulated many of the products do make a person test positive. 

Dangers of Marijuana Use 

We don’t care what they do on their own time!  There are still risks and liability issues.  The biggest issue is that the testing doesn’t tell you whether they used on the weekend, on the way to work or at lunchtime.  Reasonable suspicion training will go a long way to help supervisors recognize signs and symptoms of a person under the influence of drug or alcohol at work. 

If your employee has an accident, hurts others and tests positive – you have huge exposure to liability. The drug free workplace program has to be taken seriously to be effective.  Yes, you might lose a few workers – these are workers that are problems waiting to happen. 

If your employee is smoking pot before or during work, the risk of an accident is very high, along with lack of productivity.  Negative physical effects include impaired motor performance, loss of balance and coordination, decreased attentiveness and alertness, prolonged response time to stimuli and danger, decreased ability to judge distance and space, and impaired ability to perform complex tasks.  All of this imposes a significant safety risk.  An employee using marijuana can have adverse impact on your business, clients, associates and the public.  Safety is the issue. 

Nine pilots smoked a marijuana cigarette and tried to fly in a simulation machine. Seven still showed impaired performance 24 hours later. Only one was aware that he was still impaired.  Just because the employee may have only smoked pot the night before, does not mean the impairing effects are not still present.  

Marijuana smokers hang out with other marijuana smoker and many use other drugs.  Now things become more dangerous.  There is usually not a time clock on when they smoke pot. Condoning use of marijuana will come up in a court case and not be favorable for the company. 

Some of the documented long-term effects of marijuana use include: a decrease in job performance, impaired thinking and inability to learn and perform complex tasks.  Marijuana affects the brain even after smoking pot stops. 

Bottom line - with no accepted scientific way to test if an employee is currently under the influence of marijuana, these hazardous conditions can create all types of liability for the employer, depending on the employee’s specific job