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Cannabis and the Workplace

I came across an article recently about some issues stirring in Connecticut, although I’m sure they are not the first or only ones in this boat. The Forbes article discussed the changing tides of a drug-free workplace, drug testing, employee hiring and firing, and what are the potential methods of rolling with new wave employees who consume medical marijuana.

It would seem that most/all of Growers Network is involved in the cannabis industry in some fashion. So, whether your a @growopowners or @Distributors or any other company with employees, what are your thoughts and concerns on cannabis in the workplace and what is your approach towards protecting your employees and your company?

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I prefer staff medicated.:cowboy_hat_face:

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I also used to prefer to be that medicated staff, @KrisGrows; but time and experience changed my ways. As we have seen the dawn of the age of industrialized cannabis, we are also seeing the woes of any modern workplace (ie payroll, DOE, taxes, HR issues like PTO and OT, workman’s comp, etc.). As any workforce grows from startup to industrial-scale, there increases the degree of liability and therefore increases insurance premiums. Who bears the financial burden of those premiums? The @growopowners. Drug testing in a workplace is often in response to the increased liability of a growing workforce…it is often demanded by the insurance companies themselves, the contingency being the possibility of reduced premiums. I’m sure there is are @InsuranceProviders experts here who can weigh in far more proficiently on this subject than I can.

I would prefer staff not be intoxicated at work. Intoxication can impact productivity and increase liability. Better top be left for home enjoyment, IMO. The most successful business people and pro-growers I know share this philosophy and demand clear minds of their staff as well. Save those bong rips for when you get home!

What are other folks thoughts on this subject?

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In terms of the business entity too, employees let go or on disability by means of workers compensation under any pretext of intoxication or impaired ability don’t qualify. The business would not have to provide any sort of benefits or assurances to individuals deemed to be under the influence or impaired while on the job.

It’s a fine line to walk, but if you prefer that staff are medicated, then the business is going to operate with high risk. I’ve seen suggestions to allow for additional required breaks or other reasonable accommodations. It just seems that there is an unclear path to defining it all.

I think, as @Growernick put it:

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This is a slippery slope. As an owner of a dispensary we don’t allow on site medicating partly because of the law and partly because of preference. Unless you drug test ( we won’t unless mandated and even then we are personally against it) would you be able to control what employees do on lunch break. Asking an employee if they are high or under the influence without a drug testing policy in place will end you up in court. Also the city that I am in, is thinking about letting on site consumption so that might be something we have to think about when we cross that bridge.

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I agree that it is a slippery slope. Even if your municipality allows for on site consumption, it’s fair to reason that they will allow for on-site consumption for customers. It would be akin to your bartender getting drunk while slanging drinks. In our state it is illegal for your bartender to consume alcohol while serving alcohol. I think it’s a matter of sense and reason. You may not need to implement a drug test to have in place a company-wide policy that staff not to consume on premises. It covers your ass as an employer and allows your staff to feel free to be themselves…just not the intoxicated version of themselves!

I once had an employer sit me down and tell me “Nick, you are the face of my business; now do you think I want that face to look or smell high?” It was really hard to argue with that logic. Plus he was very respectful and sound in his reasoning. It was very effective and tactful management skills.

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Personally I think employees shouldn’t be high or intoxicated on the job and we don’t allow onsite consumption by staff. Some staff have 30 minute lunches, often offsite so I don’t have control over them at that time. If they are not fit for working after lunch than we will send them home, and write them up. Like I stated we don’t and won’t have a drug screening policy.

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I fully agree with all your points here! Good policies all around. I personally view drug testing as an invasion of bodily privacy and shouldn’t be OK in any workplace!

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I definitely dont want them intoxicated… no productivity there, lol… but medicating reasonably (“to which ones work or social performance are not negated by the consumption of the medication”)! :cowboy_hat_face:

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I agree with the comments on drug testing and screening. It’s been my experience that the real “problematic” employees tend to make themselves known in some way without drug screening. For identifying employees that return to work from lunch in an unfit-to-work condition, how do you determine this and validate though?

It’s easy enough to stop someone coming back from a break and inform them that they “have an air about them”, but if that employee were injured on the job after a break, would you openly just paying the workers compensation? Admittedly, I’ve been at companies that don’t drug test regularly, but they do require a drug screening if an employee is injured on the job. Since insurance won’t offer workers comp to anyone who is “under the influence” at work, the cases were dismissed easily every time, regardless of state legality.

As much as I’d like to wish there are only good people in this world, how does this sit with the @growopowners?

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Matt,

You hit the nail on the head. Form the perspective of the insurance company, if you are injured at work and file a workers comp claim, most all workers comp carriers will require a drug test and If you test positive, then in most cases, your claim is going to be denied. Not right, but this is reality.

The employee versus employer issue with marijuana use is definitely evolving and is not going in my opinion going to be settled until there is a test to tell if you are under the influence now or if you used hours or even days ago. There was a recent court case in Massachusetts I believe where the employee won the case because there tested positive, but was a medical user.

Unfortunately there is not a perfect solution at the moment, but the issue is definitely getting better and evolving, as the industry continues to evolve.

Hope this gives you the insurance perspective.

Larry Harb
420 Friendly Insurance

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@420FriendlyInsurance,

Sorry to put you on the spot like this, but how do you assist cannabis companies with navigating this issue at the moment? Since there are obvious needs for business insurances and workers comp is a pretty standard insurance to have, where is the value of it for cannabis companies if there is such a flux in how to determine claims?

It seems like an employee liability to work at a cannabis company, assuming that most if not all employees will or have consumed cannabis while being employed. If there is a claim based on injury on the job, but the person tested positive because they are a rec user at home, then they would be denied any workers compensation.

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Matt,

That is the big question. I would say that the markets are evolving. As more and more states, now 10 have rec use and some 32 plus are medical, I believe that it is just a matter of time and money before the insurance get up to speed. Like the nurse (employee) in Massachusetts was willing to fight the hospital and won the case, there will be more precedent cases and the industry will change. But for right now unfortunately if you test positive, in most cases, you are going to be considered under the influence.

This is the same issue if you are driving and get stopped. If you test positive for marijuana, in a number of state you are going to be considered driving under the influence. No questions asked and you can loose your drivers license.

I wish that there was a better answer, but I don’t think that there is at the moment.

Larry

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