As anti-prohibition forces continue to make progress in changing laws around the country, legalization brings up a new batch of issues that need to be dealt with. One of these issues is how much marijuana use – if any – is going to be allowed in workplaces.
Of course, many factors will go into deciding this issue within various companies. The number one factor is, and always will be, the law. No legitimate business will risk the wrath of law enforcement, at least not in any way that is visible.
But let’s say your company is in a state where cannabis use and possession by adults is legal, like Colorado. What then?
In this case, several things come into play, including the personal preferences of the owner(s), the rules of the building the company is physically in and the type of work and level of productivity desired. If you’re a company that creates something, like video games, cannabis use may be desired and even encouraged. If you’re a business that does some sort of precision machine work, maybe employees should wait until after their shift is over.
Several companies in Colorado have decided that marijuana use during work is no problem. Yes, many of these companies are in a marijuana-related field, but that’s to be expected. They are going to be the first businesses to try something that has never really been done before because they know the cannabis industry better than most.
Companies like Flowhub (software) and Massroots (social media) are letting their employees use cannabis during work hours. Both work with the cannabis industry, but don’t physically handle or sell cannabis. No one would be surprised to learn about a marijuana retail shop letting employees partake, but it’s a bit more surprising when use is taken to an office environment.
“If it [marijuana use] helps our employees get work done, then we don’t care if they consume at work,” said Flowhub co-founder Kyle Sherman.
And that’s really the bottom line. If it’s legal then companies should be able to make these decisions for themselves. If it helps productivity, then good for them. If not, then the company will suffer and they will reverse course.
Early on in the world of legalization, many questions are yet to be answered. What will a post-legalization world look like? How commonplace will cannabis use be in different situations and places? Will cannabis use end up looking much like alcohol use (bars, restaurants, the guy on the corner drinking a 40) or will it become something completely different?
Much remains to be seen, which is one of the reasons the emerging cannabis legality and industry is so exciting.
I’ve worked at ski areas and restaurants that allowed cannabis use on the job. These industries do not offer many high-paying jobs, so using cannabis was seen as something of a benefit.
At one restaurant we had a meeting where the sous chef asked us to reduce our cannabis use at work, but even then we weren’t asked to stop using it, just to make sure that it didn’t interfere with our ability to work.
I find it interesting that this practice is spreading; it will be interesting to see how things change as legalization becomes the norm.