5 Cannabis Drug Testing Mistakes to Avoid at the Workplace
The use of marijuana/cannabis/weed is rising recreationally and medicinally, leading to conflicts for employers and insurers regarding pre- and post-employment drug testing for workers, asking for workers’ compensation claims.
The medical efficiency of marijuana is still unknown for several illnesses, and the product strength on the body varies depending on the method of ingestion and product strength.
It isn’t considered a prescribed medication by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Unfortunately, there’s no national standard for the on-the-job marijuana training for employees. It’s up to the employer to investigate state laws, industry best practices, and potential compliance risks to meet every employee’s requirements.
There’s an urgent need to create more substantial training and development programs to build a healthy workplace culture.
Let’s get into the number game to understand the cannabis impact for the workplace:
According to the Cannabis Industry Annual Report, legal and decriminalized cannabis will create more jobs in the US by 2020, making it the fastest-growing industry in the United States.
The report states that:
- Medical cannabis sales are projected to grow from $4.7 billion in 2016 to $13.3 billion in 2020.
- Recreational cannabis sales are expected to grow from $2.6 billion in 2016 to $11.2 billion in 2020.
Sadly, there are no overarching laws or certifications for employees, and state-by-state legalization neglecting the importance of providing drug-free training to employees and employers. This is becoming a problem for owners and dispensaries.
Experts claim that compliance training is expensive due to rapid staff turnover. To combat these issues, employers need to set organizational policies regarding the physical presence of cannabis products in the workplace.
In the United States, drug testing policies are becoming challenging. You can be thinking, what’s the big deal in this when there are so many states legalizing weed and cannabis?
Several reasons point towards the need to implement drug testing procedures in an organization. It helps in the following:
Liability: When intoxicated workers work with potential customers, clients, and the general public, there are higher chances of their employers being exposed to legal actions or claims.
Safety: Such employees are prone to industrial accidents and other mishaps that can endanger their coworkers’ lives.
Security: Proper drug testing can refrain from workplace accidents like fraud, theft, or embezzlement by financing illicit addictions.
Reputation: Employees who are intoxicated or impaired while representing the company can put the company’s reputation at stake too.
Thus, several workplace studies have revealed that a drug-free workplace policy and professional marijuana training can reduce workplace mishaps, boost absenteeism, and retention rates.
This logic can take you nowhere and lead to 5 critical mistakes to avoid for Cannabis testing.
#1: Never underestimate the consequences of marijuana impairment in the workplace
Marijuana is considered to be a ‘chill’ drug, where the reflexes and cognitive abilities are affected. Employees under the influence of cannabis or weed pose a higher risk to their fellow employees and company.
According to the National Safety Council, employees who tested positive for weed have 85% more injuries, 55% more industrial accidents, and 75% more absenteeism than those who tested negative.
It won’t be a good thing for the company to hire someone driving the company’s car or working under the influence of cannabis. It’s dangerous for both the employee and the company’s reputation.
#2: Employers failing to understand the company’s obligations
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1970, employees are responsible for adopting practices and maintaining conditions necessary to protect other employees.
For instance: An employee got injured at work due to an impaired coworker who was smoking weed at his/her desk. Here, the company is held liable for such workplace incidents.
Things can worsen if your company contracts federal workers who are mandated to follow the Drug Workplace Act of 1988. Even though marijuana is legal at the federal level, your company can be held compliant. Try to understand all the company obligations and don’t just go ‘by the book’.
Incorporate marijuana training at your workplace to provide you and your employees’ unique training opportunities for a productive workplace.
#3: Unable to keep up with changes in state laws
As a matter of fact, the pot laws at the state level are continually changing. You need to pull up your socks and stay updated with all the latest changes in your state laws.
In case you have operations in more than one state, you need to research and understand the pot laws in every state. This will help you to make the necessary changes to your drug testing policies accordingly.
It’s essential to have deep expertise in both drug testing and laws governing drug testing.
#4: Inadequate awareness about cannabidiol (CBD)
The CBD oil is produced from the marijuana plant or hemp. It’s made through a process that’s said to remove the Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the hallucinogenic element that is considered to give you the ‘kick’.
Cannabis is inhaled as smoke as a dried herbal product either alone or mixed with tobacco. The cannabis flower is converted into various products like oil, hash, dried herbal material, concentrates, foods, and beverages.
Many ingested it in the form of pills, creams, skin patches, salves, etc.
CBD’s quality differs as there are no federally mandated standards regarding the manufacturing of CBD as of today. It’s used for medicinal purposes for treatments like anxiety and arthritic pain. The FDA has cleared only one CBD-based medication (Epidiolex) for epilepsy.
The most significant issues associated with CBD are the lack of integrity in the manufacturing process to eliminate THC from the product. These claims cannot be verified or guaranteed due to a lack of manufacturing standards.
Several employees take cannabis or weed for medicinal purposes and will obviously test positive for THC or marijuana. This is the biggest loophole, especially if you’re in a state with no employee protection and workplace policy in place.
In a nutshell: It’s crucial to educate employees on the risk of taking CBD or refer them to work with a professional physician that ensures high-quality products where the THC is removed. Employers should frame a drug testing policy that discourages the use of CBD oil.
#5: Lack of a comprehensive drug testing policy
If you don’t have this, then you’re mistaken for not having one in place.
Your workplace drug testing policy should be extensive, transparent, and compliant. Every state has different laws owing to the constantly changing laws. Ensure that you make necessary changes to your policy at least once in a year.
Are you looking for a comprehensive drug-free training solution?
Stephen May provides you a corporate professional development and marijuana training program titled ‘Weed in the Workplace’. This 4-hour course will give supervisory and management personnel the knowledge and skills necessary to correctly, accurately, and reasonably determine reasonable suspicion of cannabis use and impairment in the workplace.
For a broad understanding, you can also join our ‘Drugs in the Workplace’ training program to help your employees determine reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol use and impairment in the workplace. Look no further and call the registrar or take a tour of our facility or call us at 978-834-6158.
Stephen W. May LLC is an innovative company offering a wide range of training solutions and resources to corporate, municipal, and law enforcement clients. Contact us today!