Although medical cannabis legalization is taking the United States by storm, many patients are uncertain about how their use will impact their standing at the workplace. Some medical marijuana cardholders have already faced discrimination by employers over their lawful right to treatment, and pro-pot organizations like NORML have stepped up to protect employees from baseless and random drug screenings.
In Florida, the Drug Free America Foundation is also working to add clarity to this muddled situation, sharing a “Marijuana and the Workplace Toolkit” to help employers deal with medical marijuana legalization in a responsible way. Earlier this week, the drug policy and prevention organization hosted a forum in the town of Bradenton.
The event featured a presentation by Amy Ronshausen, the deputy director of the Drug Free America Foundation, who discussed how Florida’s medical marijuana program will impact employers in the state. The organization also released a complementary guide packed with information and advice on how to be “diligent and proactive in understanding how the use of marijuana effects the individual, the overall influence on the business, and the level of financial liability that is acceptable.”
The toolkit begins by glossing over the increased potency of marijuana, different forms of edibles, and the rise of vaporizers. There are also some interesting factoids on the dramatic increases in positive marijuana drug tests over the last three years. The guide goes on to provide insight into driving under the influence while on the job, as well as cannabis-related case studies involving airline pilots and postal workers.
After going over the risks and some intricacies regarding employee rights, the Drug Free America Foundation shares tips on how to they see medical marijuana in the workplace should be approached. Their advice included creating a comprehensive drug-free workplace program, providing employee awareness education, conducting additional drug tests, and preventing use in the workplace, among other ideas.
“We encourage employers to remain consistent and fair in the application of workplace rules and procedures and to regularly review their program in relation to applicable laws, regulations and statutes that may have changed,” says Calvina Fay, the executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation.
Unfortunately, with cannabis remaining illegal on the federal level, the “Marijuana and the Workplace Toolkit” still presents the medicinally legal plant with a stigmatization of criminality. However, it also seems to focus on protecting employees from harm, and creating a more caring work environment.
While the Drug Free America Foundation certainly has its own qualms with marijuana legalization, the toolkit and forum in Florida at least attempts to provide a coherent solution to problems that both employers and workers will face in the near future.