The growth in use of marijuana and changing attitudes towards the drug creates a risk to workplaces. Two groups have joined forces to offer guidance to businesses on how to tackle the issue including how the side effects could impact on the workplace and how to monitor the drug’s use by employees. The American Association of Occupational Health Nurses (AAOHN) and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) have published the guidance in ACOEM’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and AAOHN’s journal Workplace Health & Safety. “Marijuana is the most frequently used illicit drug of abuse in the United States and around the world,” said ACOEM President Kathryn Mueller, MD. “At the same time, it is, by a wide margin, the drug most often detected in workplace drug testing programs. With rapidly changing attitudes and laws regarding marijuana use, employers need to examine their current policies and be prepared for potential impacts on workforce as these trends continue.”
The issue of marijuana use is complicated by differing state laws including those relating to the use of the drug for medicinal purposes. The two organizations advise that employers seek legal counsel when drawing up policies on medicinal use of the drug. Although courts have backed the employer in some cases where workers have been dismissed, in Arizona a worker cannot be dismissed for medicinal marijuana use alone. The issue is likely to become further clouded as new court rulings are made.