Increased Marijuana Use and How It Impacts the Workplace

By Katie Mercurio, Account Manager

April 27, 2023

American employers are facing challenges due to the developing cannabis legalization and the increased use among employees.

It may not be surprising to hear that more people are smoking marijuana than cigarettes according to a recent Gallup poll. In July of last year, 11% of Americans confirmed they smoke cigarettes compared to 45% in the mid-1950s. 16% of Americans say they smoke marijuana, with 48% saying they tried it at some point in their lives. The perception around both substances have changed dramatically in the past 50 years.

Although marijuana use violates federal law, many states have passed laws legalizing marijuana. State laws that legalize medical or recreational marijuana do not affect employers’ rights to retain zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policies. Marijuana use in the workplace can be a serious safety and health concern for a variety of reasons. Recent studies have suggested that cannabis users can have disorientation, impaired judgement, lack of concentration, and slowed fine motor skills. This can also depend upon the THC concentration, user’s experience, and route of administering.

The recent research on marijuana use and health risks have been mixed. However, there are some health risks involved with marijuana smoking. The smoke from marijuana combustion can contain many of the same toxins and carcinogens as in tobacco smoke. This can be even more harmful to immune-compromised individuals who are more susceptible to lung infections.

This is an evolving topic that we will continue to monitor.

Sources:

https://www.nsc.org/nsc-membership/marijuana-at-work

https://www.npr.org/2022/08/30/1120024399/marijuana-cigarette-use-gallup-poll

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