Marijuana Use: Workplace Rules vs. Drug Laws

Understanding Marijuana Workplace Rules vs. Drug Laws

Marijuana Use – Different factors in decision-making

Even in states where marijuana use is legal, about a quarter of people will never use it. There are also about a fifth of people will use the drug regardless of its legal status.

However, for all the people in the middle of those two extremes, many things factor into their decision of whether to use marijuana. The price, potential governmental records and the rules in their workplace are all important considerations, according to Mike McLaughlin, a Yale School of Public Health graduate student. He noted that workplace bans are a particularly key issue.

McLaughlin presented his research at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting. He tried to determine what matters most to people in the states that are voting on marijuana legalization, and what states can do to influence people’s decision.

For his study, he surveyed over 500 adult residents of Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, and Michigan.

Workplace rules have the greatest impact

About five percent of survey respondents said that they would be less likely to use the drug if the state government tracked purchases. A similar number said that if it were illegal to smoke in public, that would be a deterrent. If the price rose by about $20/gram (through taxes and fees), another five percent would be less likely to use.

However, if a state made it difficult for a company to fire an employee for using marijuana outside of the workplace, nine percent of people were more likely to smoke. A complete lack of workplace repercussions meant that 20 percent more people would use the drug.

Certainly, as McLaughlin said, an individual’s commitment to their job makes a difference. If someone is in a low-paying job with high turnover, they may care less about their employer’s rules. However, someone with a highly paid job that they enjoy might decide that avoiding any possible repercussions is most important to them.

Might not be a problem much longer

Under the Drug-Free Workplace Act, companies are allowed to test for marijuana use and prohibit employees from using even when they are off the clock. But, if it stops being regulated at the federal level, that could change.

It’s difficult for a test to tell how recently a person used cannabis. In Colorado, employers have started turning to drug tests that ignore marijuana use altogether, since the drug has been legal for recreational use since 2012.

Many industries have relaxed their views on recreational marijuana use outside of work hours, but industries with a high level of safety concern have been more likely to maintain a no-tolerance policy.

For most people in McLaughlin’s study, the goal was clear – they want marijuana to be treated like alcohol. Depending on how votes go in the next few years that may happen sooner than you think.

Written by Robert Bergman, founder of ilovegrowingmarijuana.com. Robert has been passionately exploring and experimenting with cannabis seeds for over 20 years and shares these insights to help prospective growers get the most out of their plants. On top of that, Robert engages to fully liberate marijuana by offering his views in the political, social, market and industry area of our beloved plant.


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