THC in marijuana is linked to adverse changes in appearance, behavior, and job performance. The use of marijuana in the workplace is a safety risk. Marijuana use affects depth perception, reaction time, coordination, and other motor skills. Some studies say that 1 to 2 joints will decrease motor skills by as much as 70%.
According to a study reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, employees who tested positive for Marijuana were associated with 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries, and a 75% higher absenteeism rate than those who tested negative. Employees using marijuana contribute to decreased productivity, increased worker compensation and unemployment compensation claims, high turnover, and lawsuits. Some studies put the cost of employees who abuse drugs at $7,000 per employee per year and this does not include unemployment claims or legal action.
It is important to remember that, according to federal law, marijuana is still illegal. The DEA continues to classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which means that it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Federal law supersedes state law. Employers must decide how they want to position themselves as an organization. A robust workplace drug policy can go a long way in keeping your organization safe and drug-free.
Studies show drug testing works; employees are three times less likely to produce a positive test result if they know they will be tested. Drug testing is primarily a deterrent; if you choose to implement a drug testing program, you will need a substance abuse policy. A substance abuse policy should consist of:
- Proper management training that encourages managers to enforce the policy
- Access to support for employees with drug problems, which can range from a formal assistance program to a referral to local resource
- Clearly defined use and possession parameters for employees
- Established rules for post-accident testing
- Rules on how you will handle an employee’s conviction or arrest.
Your drug policy must be very specific and supported by workplace procedures to reduce the chance of litigation. Drug policy and workplace procedures should be reviewed by a lawyer to ensure they comply with state laws. And, policies must be updated frequently to keep up with changing laws and attitudes. The health and safety of your workforce depend on it!
If you would like our help in creating a workplace policy, give us a call at 1.800.452.0030, ext. 0!