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Legalization is spreading and the “4/20 Holiday” is predicted to be bigger than ever when it comes to legal cannabis sales. That means more Americans will be using marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, but have employers’ drug use policies changed with legalization?
The situation is a challenging one for businesses. Marijuana Moment’s Legislative Tracking Tools show more than 1,005 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions, so it’s hard for companies to keep up with changing laws and regulations. Employers need stay up to date and know if state laws protect employees’ use of medical cannabis in the workplace or shields them in the case of failed employer-mandated drug tests.
Despite trends of legalization and public acceptance of cannabis use in the U.S, some employers are maintaining a hardline policy on drug use, even when medical marijuana is involved. This is primarily due to safety. Mind-affecting drug consumption and the use of heavy equipment for example, don’t mesh well. Other companies may keep strict practices to limit their own liability if something goes wrong and an employee using cannabis is found to be the cause.
Farah and Farah surveyed 1,000 people about their companies’ drug testing policies and how employers feel about marijuana use, and results showed that companies could do a better job updating or communicating their policies. Only 21% of employees said their employer made clear changes to their current drug use policy– 13% excluded medicinal use, while 8% excluded any use. When asked about their employer’s substance use policy, 19% of employees said they were unsure if changes were made post-legalization. 60% of people said their company’s stance on drug use and testing didn’t change after marijuana legalization.
Marijuana use doesn’t seem to differ between states where it is legal and states where it is not. About a third of workers across all states said they had used marijuana during the workday. This includes medical use, for example, to alleviate pain.
Greg James, publisher of Marijuana Venture, a magazine for business people in the industry makes it clear to his employees that they should not use cannabis at work, but jokes that, “our drug testing is a little different than most companies — when we mention drug testing, we might be referring to having an employee try a new strain of bud.”
No matter the corporate policy, sales of the substance continue to grow, and retailers are looking forward to a profitable 4/20. Over the last two years MJ Freeway, a data service that tracks the industry, has analyzed retail sales data for the seven-day period of April 17-23 across 14 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It found that average sales rise significantly in pot shops and dispensaries on April 20th. This year, 4/20 falls on a Saturday, and MJ freeway predicts triple sales on that day, as well as 2.5 times the normal dollar amount in sales on Friday 4/19 as people get ready for the weekend.
April 10, 2019 at 09:21AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs