Workplace Cannabis Myths Debunked

There are a number of rumours, myths and a lot of misinformation swirling around the impending legalization of Cannabis. While some of it is humorous, there is a lot of it which leans a little closer to unneeded panic.

Cannabis will be controlled under the Smoke Free Ontario Act in the same manner as tobacco and “e-cigs” or vapes.  It will also be controlled in the same manner as alcohol; so if you can’t walk down the street drinking a beer, you can’t smoke Cannabis walking down the street either.  Essentially, consumption is restricted to private residences only. 

So what about the impact on the workplace? Here are the three top concerns (myths) I am hearing:

Myth 1 – People will start smoking Cannabis in workplace smoking areas

False.  It would not be legal to consume alcohol there, so it is not legal to consume Cannabis.  Those who have a prescription could use “alternative forms” such as drinks or food containing Cannabis to avoid impacting coworkers.

Myth 2 – Absenteeism will increase due to “hang over effects” from partying

False. (Although this is my own personal opinion). Studies show there is a lot of Cannabis use going on while “not legal”, so I would not anticipate very much increase in this problem in the workplace.

Myth 3 – Employers need to start drug testing or “smelling” staff when they come to work.

False. Not only is this not legal in most cases, but what message does it send to your workers? Unless you have a genuine safety concern, or can demonstrate that there is a substance abuse issue in the workplace, I would not recommend pursuing this.

What workplaces DO need are firm policies outlining the employer’s position on Cannabis and other substances and how infractions will be dealt with.  This is where good Attendance Management, Progressive Discipline and Substance Abuse policies come in to play.

Workplaces are going through extreme amounts of upheaval and change with all of the recent legislation changes and “hot topics” such as harassment and Cannabis.  It feels like there is a huge tornado whipping things around, but if we hold on tight and get prepared we will come out the other side safely.

Don’t worry! We are here to help. Call us today to get your workplace policies done!