Literally since the effective date of this new change in law, my employers were reaching out for guidance!

Like it or not we should expect to encounter the effects of the legalization of mairjuana. Some have described it as “open season” with the issues they are experiencing. Being a new “freedom” will certainly increase the use. Not only is this creating issues for employers but is causing issues with those who are offended by the smell of it and it sure carries.

A couple things popped up and perhaps you have the same questions so I wanted to share.

First a call was related to an employee smelling of marijuana. What can be done? Well, if there is no visible impairment and they are not violating your smoking policies on work premises, there is little you can do. To me it would be like how you might handle someone with offensive odors otherwise if it becomes a problem over time.

Another call focused on once again, smelling it and yet this person was a driver for this company. In this case, I would have a conversation with the employee to determine if they seem impaired in any way. If they do not, but still concerned, I would suggest considering your drug testing policy for reasonable suspicion. Keep in mind, it is legal now so it is different, but so is alcohol and we address that if we think we smell it on someone right? The fact that this person drives also could make it an issue related to DOT rules and with that, there is zero tolerance of drugs in one’s body while driving if I recall those regulations. In any case, check with your insurance carrier and any regulations that you are under related to drivers.

There is the issue of how to address all aspects of this new law as it relates to the workplace. It is far too early to know how things will play out over time but we know that there will be many areas of concern for employers. For now, consider treating it like you do alcohol and follow your procedures related to how you would address an employee by following those protocols. Both are legal, both are not to be used during or around the workplace. Both can impair one’s functioning and so we watch for behaviors and performance issues related.

As always, feel free to reach out to me if you have any specific questions or concerns. We can work through these together.