AFTER THE SMOKE HAS CLEARED
By Michael Horvat
We are about three months into the legal sale and use of recreational mari-juana
in Ontario since the government instituted online sales on Oct. 17,
2018. While the Ontario government has not completely settled on a full
retail strategy for at-the-counter sales of cannabis and cannabis products,
the smoke has at least cleared somewhat for employers as they deal with a new reality of
addressing (legal) cannabis use in the workplace, alongside long understood (and generally
accepted) policies relating to alcohol and prescription drugs in the workplace.
The guiding principle for most employers dealing with the new reality is that employ-ees
must be “fit for work.” This is still an imprecise phrase in terms of what constitutes
or is accepted as impairment from cannabis use that would physically and/or mentally
prohibit a particular employee from continuing to work. Provincial governments and law
enforcement, for example, are likely to struggle over the coming months on how to test
for cannabis impairment in a manner (and level of use) that is both reliable and publicly
understood and accepted. It is quite likely that there also could be changes in standards
and thresholds as societal and political acceptance and understanding as to cannabis
impairment increases (not too dissimilar to the societal change towards alcohol use, drunk
driving and the ultimate acceptance of RIDE testing a generation earlier).
LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA
HAS MOST CERTAINLY NOT PERMITTED NOR
PROVIDED A VALID EXCUSE FOR EMPLOYEES
TO BE OR ATTEND AT WORK IMPAIRED.
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ CONFERENCE ISSUE 2019 ❚ 47