The pot shops are in full swing, consumers are lining up for a taste of legal cannabis and yet your workplace is still confused about its role in dealing with employee issues on the matter.
That’s according to The Conference Board of Canada, which interviewed 163 employers to see how prepared they were on the issue six months after legalization. It seems employers have not quite reached the right balance on the issues of accommodation for medical cannabis use while ensuring safety, drug testing versus privacy, and what education you are are responsible for.
Perhaps the best thing to do before educating employees and deciding on policies is to educate yourself first. For example, do you know the strains and quantities of THC in various products? Have you looked at your own alcohol and drug policy prior to thinking about pot in the workplace? Do you know the effects of impairment? Do you know that there are legal impairment penalties, the same as with alcohol? For example, two to five nanograms of THC per millilitre of blood would be a summary offense and a fine of up to $1,000.
They seem like easy questions but if you haven’t thought about them in a while or if you haven’t thought about them in the context of cannabis, it’s time to ensure your knowledge is at least as good as your employees who may already be more knowledgeable than you.
Once you’ve gotten you and your HR department up to speed, education and prevention within your workplace can begin. The Conference Board suggests working with your EAP or other providers as a cost effective way to providing education materials. Also, because employees may look to their employer for guidance, rely on fact-based information and avoid scare tactics. Employees want to feel safe and secure at work, and whether it’s cannabis or other issues, that security begins with you.