A rethink of corporate cannabis policies

With a changing legal landscape, it’s time to reconsider some old rules and norms.

By Sean Devlin      
dry buds of marijuana in a glass jar close-up on a green background.

As more and more states continue to reconsider their laws and statutes on the recreational use of cannabis, we’re inching ever closer to a time in the United States when the long-illegal drug will no longer be banned on the federal level. While it’s no secret that marijuana prohibition has had negative legal implications for many Americans, it’s also impacted employment opportunities for many as well. As the country rethinks its relationship with both recreational cannabis and therapeutic psychedelics like psilocybin, we should consider what impacts these trends will have on the workplace.

While employers in many states reserve the right to drug test for employment purposes, cannabis testing can cause a somewhat murky situation. While employers should obviously be concerned if employees are under the influence of a mind-altering substance at work, a blood or urine test for cannabis can reveal metabolites related to the drug for weeks after consumption. For a drug that’s on par with alcohol in many states, this doesn’t seem terribly effective or fair to employees who want to exercise their rights. Some states already have protections in place for off-site cannabis use, and employers should instead look for signs of impairment if they suspect there is an issue rather than relying on increasingly outdated modes of testing.

With laws differing so widely from state to state, this can cause confusion, particularly if an employee moves and isn’t up on their cannabis regulations. For this reason, employers and employees alike should keep an eye on the federal movement toward the decriminalization of cannabis. In a similar vein, they should also be attuned to trends regarding the relaxation of laws around therapeutic psychedelics. Some cities have decriminalized psychedelic mushrooms, and a few states are considering doing the same. However, it’s important to note the difference between decriminalization and legalization, and employers and employees alike should be aware of the statues in place in their locales.