Cannabis and the Workplace: Why They Don't Mix


With Canada’s legalization of cannabis in October 2018, nearly a quarter of adult Canadians reported to consuming cannabis in the last few months of 2018. Although cannabis has the potential to help those who use it for medicinal purposes, it remains a cause for concern when brought into the workplace. When working in a safety-sensitive environment, the use of marijuana can cause an increase in accidents and injuries, putting both the individual using the substance and employees around them at risk.


There are many side-effects of marijuana that can be dangerous when experienced in the workplace. Some examples include confusion, fatigue, an impaired ability to concentrate, poor memory, delayed reaction time, and an increase in anxiety, fear, or panic. Each of these side-effects can be a liability in the workplace, especially a workplace that is safety-sensitive. According to a study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, employees who tested positive for marijuana had 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries, and 75% greater absenteeism than those who tested negative



As mentioned in one of our previous BLOGS, substance use in the workplace costs companies a large amount of money due to absenteeism, Workers Compensation premiums, lost productivity, and employee turnover. Not only does cannabis in the workplace pose a danger to employees, but it also poses a financial danger to employers, as it introduces high costs that can oftentimes be prevented.


On a positive note, it’s been found that the legalization of cannabis has not impacted the workplace on such a significant note as predicted before legalization. However, this is most likely due to the fact that those who wanted to use cannabis were likely using it before legalization as well, either for medicinal purposes or casual use. There still are lingering issues involving marijuana in the workplace, such as the increase in workplace accidents, injuries, and absenteeism mentioned above. That being said, many of these concerns can be addressed with a proper company drug and alcohol program.


We at Precede offer full services in consulting companies on the deficiencies and strengths within their drug and alcohol policy, and are able to fully develop a company’s policy- customized to the company’s needs. For more information on the drug and alcohol services that Precede offers, please click here.

The legalization of cannabis in Canada has evidently come with both positive and negative effects for individuals, but it’s important to address the potential dangers associated with maijuana use in the workplace. In order to help keep employees safe, to save company time and money, and to ensure a productive workplace, a proper drug and alcohol policy is a crucial step for any company.

To learn more about how Precede Occupational Health Services can help you and your organization, click here.