Cannabis in the Workplace: What’s the Deal Anyway?

I’m sure that, like me, you have seen many articles and training advertisements about the need to educate yourself and prepare for the legalization of marijuana (for my international readers, I am based in Canada and “weed” became legal here on October 17, 2018). Frankly, the “noise” around legalization has been so loud that I’m just glad the date has come and gone.

After being asked, “What are you doing at ACHIEVE and CTRI to prepare for the legalization of cannabis?” one too many times, I’ve finally decided to write about it here. It may also surprise you that we’re doing nothing, so I’d like to explain my reasons why.

First, medical marijuana is already legal and being used – for those who work and use medical marijuana, nothing will change. And for the average office environment, I don’t see the potential issues of recreational cannabis use being that much different than when issues of alcohol use affect the workplace.

My concern is not really around how cannabis use could affect our workplace, but rather how cannabis abuse could affect a person’s performance and ability to do the job we need them to do. And yet I foresee the principles that workplaces have applied to the impact of alcohol for generations as being effective for cannabis as well. In our organization, if someone’s performance is affected for whatever reason, we meet with them and manage the performance issue.

Obviously, like alcohol, there will be a number of people who will abuse marijuana, which will have a negative impact on the workplace. Although these issues will need to be managed, I don’t think there will be anything unique in comparison to what we are already doing in relationship to alcohol.

I know many of our employees already partake in alcohol because I have had drinks socially with them on numerous occasions. I’m also pretty sure a good number of my employees will use cannabis. However, I trust that, like the use of alcohol, marijuana won’t have an impact on our workplace. October 17, 2018 has finally come and gone – let’s stop preparing for it and get back to work!

Randy Grieser, CEO, Author, Speaker

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