Over the past decade, many states have been moving toward the legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana. The changes in legislation have posed a range of difficulties for employers, forcing many to reevaluate existing workplace drug policies and procedures. This has resulted in the following challenges across industry lines:
- Employee safety risks—Although existing research on the correlation between marijuana usage and employee injuries is low, some data has shown that using the substance can elevate workplace safety exposures, including impaired judgment, reduced concentration and slower motor skills.
- Workers’ compensation issues—Because marijuana usage may increase the likelihood of employee injuries, it could subsequently result in elevated workers’ compensation claims.
- Commercial auto concerns—As more adults are able to legally use marijuana and other cannabinoids, there have been concerns over how such legalization could impact road safety, especially among commercial drivers.
- Employment practices liability exposures—Some states have enacted legislation restricting an employer’s ability to perform preemployment screening tests for marijuana.
Despite the challenges created by marijuana legalization, businesses can implement the following measures to minimize
- Educate employees on the safety risks associated with marijuana usage in the workplace.
- Adopt an appropriate marijuana usage policy aimed to prevent impairment issues on the job and provide proper support for employees.
- Train supervisors and managers on how to detect and respond to potential marijuana-related impairment in the workplace.
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