With cannabis quickly gaining acceptance in the US and in the world, company policies will undoubtedly need to shift in relation to consumption. Drug testing for jobs have long been an industry that has been doing the dirty work of the government for years.
In actuality, there is little evidence to suggest that people consuming cannabis makes them any less productive or attentive in their work. Additionally, since THC can linger in people’s systems for weeks and in some cases months – finding THC in their urine or blood does not indicate being impaired.
This is why the CDC decided to chip in and advise companies – especially those operating in multiple states – on how to correctly craft cannabis policy saying that an “outright ban might not be possible.” This is because places like New York prohibited the using cannabis as an excuse to deny someone employment. It also protects people from being fired if they test positive for cannabis.
For users, this is wonderful news – however, for employers, they do have to worry about liabilities and considering that cannabis is still a federally illegal substance, the CDC’s guidance comes as a sign that there may be significant policy changes soon.
Let’s take a closer look at what the CDC recommend businesses do.
CDC Cannabis Workplace Guidance
The biggest suggestion the CDC made for businesses was more related to those who utilize trucking or have workers behind vehicles. While they admit that the research on cannabis-impaired driving has shown no significant indications that it use increases crashes – there should be a “zero-tolerance” when it comes to driving.
However, as mentioned that States like New York has prohibited this type of legislation, thus – drivers would need to be “impaired” to be eligible for getting fired. What this means is that in order for a company to terminate an employee who tested positive for THC, they would need a medical professional that is able to interpret the readings and prove that the employee was impaired while working.
The only exception – currently – are employees that work for the federal government. Since they are adherent to federal legislation, they will have a zero-tolerance approach for the foreseeable future.
The CDC argued that employers should at the very minimal prohibit workers from consuming “on the job site” or showing up to work impaired. This of course is common sense, but officially this is the recommendation. The CDC also suggested that companies employ a lawyer to check over their cannabis policy so that it’s in line with state legislation.
Another suggestion that the CDC offered was to provide workers with “access to support” to employees with a substance abuse problem with “in-house solutions” or recommending people to local resources. This is an interesting approach and is counter the typical approach of just firing someone if they struggle with drug use.
I can see this particular part of a policy warp in the future to make it difficult to fire someone with substance abuse issues due to the fact that they are suffering from the psychological problem of addiction.
Nonetheless, it seems crystal clear that the biggest concern for the CDC are impaired drivers. In essence, all they want is to make it difficult or impossible for people to drive and smoke weed. This is definitely okay since nobody is advocating stoned driving.
Where I disagree with the CDC
I personally don’t think that cannabis should be a problem for employers – most people will be able to smoke and leave their weed at home. Medical patients will function better with smoking cannabis onsite – something that the CDC didn’t mention.
However, I do believe that businesses should retain the right to
Test for cannabis
Have the right to fire people for cannabis
While I don’t believe they should ever enact these conditions, I do believe they should be within their right to fire someone if they violate their internal drug policies. However, I would like to think that if a company does implement these draconian rules – that the consumer base of thus said company would come and defend the employees.
The reason why I believe that a company should still retain the right to fire someone for violating their drug policies is because companies should be retain the power of these decisions. If we permit the government to say who you can and cannot hire – then they can implement policies that do not serve the best interests of your company and could create laws based on fads or mob rule.
Of course, I think society should be the arbitrators and support companies that are “with it” when it comes to cannabis policy. Furthermore, it would be good to have a device that actually can indicate impairment since there will undoubtedly be more people consuming cannabis over the coming years as it becomes more available.
Nonetheless, the fact that the CDC came out with these suggestions seems to be a signal that there may be a dramatic shift about to occur in DC. Then again, the government has been hinting at major reform for years now and all we have to show for it is a White House that is indifferent to the cannabis consumers that voted them into power.
If the Republicans manage to lock down a cannabis bill before the Democrats do – it will most certainly have a major impact on the 2024 elections.
Personally, I hope that Americans can finally abandon their binary approach to politics. In the words of the woke – “Cis-political ideologies” is killing the world. We need a new political party to replace the dichotomy of power that consolidated into a singular monster that serves corporate needs.
Nonetheless – I do believe we’re about to see some major changes come over the next following months. I’m not 100% sure if it will be possible before year’s end – but then again, Christmas Miracles do happen…or do they?