Weed in the Workplace: What Employers Should Know

Posted on 2019-02-07 at 04:08 PM


By newsroom

The Government of Canada has legalized recreational use of marijuana since October 17, 2018 but does this allow employees to be impaired at work? What are the rules regarding consumption of medical marijuana at work? What precautions should employers take to ensure safety at their workplace. Here’s more:

FAQs on Marijuana Consumption at Work

Can employees be impaired at work?

  • No. Employees must follow the rules set down by employers in their workplace, just like the way rules for alcohol consumption at work are followed.

  • During work hours, employers have the right to prohibit marijuana consumption.

  • Employers have the right to prohibit employees from attending work if they are found to be impaired (impaired memory / impaired coordination / distorted sense of time) after cannabis consumption.

  • Workplace rules can be enforced through the discipline policy of the company during application.

Should employers accommodate employees who consume medical marijuana?

  • Yes.The provincial and federal human rights legislation requires employers to accommodate disabled employees who use medical marijuana.

  • Employers must accommodate employees who may have an addiction disability within limits.

  • Employers must accommodate employees who a prescription for medical marijuana use just as it is required for regular medical drugs.

  • A medical marijuana prescription does not permit an employee to be impaired at work, or compromise his/her own safety or those of others.

  • A medical marijuana prescription does not permit an employee to smoke in the workplace, arrive late for work or be absent without appropriate reasons.

What other strategies have the CCOHS outlined for employers on the risk of impairment from consumption cannabis?

  • Impairment in the workplace can have severe consequences but in Canada, workplace drug testing is generally considered to be discriminatory on the basis of disability or perceived disability under the human rights legislation.

  • Employers must provide training to their staff and employees on the impact of impairment, recognizing or responding to possible signs of impairment.

  • Employers are recommended to seek legal advice before implementing a substance testing programme or seek guidance from the nearest CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety) agency in the jurisdiction.

  • Employers can outline organizational policies about the presence of cannabis products in the workplace just the way it is set about alcohol use on the premises, regardless of the intent to consume it.

  • Employers can consider creating a designated area for smoking therapeutic cannabis, away from entrances and ventilation intake vents if required.

  • Employers can request the client to stop smoking marijuana an hour or more before a visit.


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