Article by Bill Howatt, Globe and Mail
Assuming there will be no negative impact may be naïve. But assuming there will be a major negative impact – or no potential positive outcomes – would also not be accurate.
The supply of legal recreational cannabis is not keeping up with demand, and with edible cannabis products expected to be made available later this year, recreational cannabis could be in short supply until 2022. It appears Canadians are more interested in cannabis than originally expected.
In anticipation of the Cannabis Act coming into effect, each employer had to decide what they would do to prepare for the new era of legal recreational cannabis and the degree of risk it might create. Preparations included updating substance use and smoke-free policies; training managers on how to detect and deal with substance-induced impairment; and educating employees on what fit-for-duty means – which is ensuring you are never impaired during work hours.
Along with making the use of recreational cannabis legal, the Cannabis Act has drawn more attention, resources and investment to medical cannabis. An employee needs authorization from a medical doctor to be eligible for a workplace medical accommodation or to be covered under a benefits plan. Many employers, who have yet to cover medical cannabis under their benefits plans, are now considering the pros and cons of doing so. If medical cannabis helps more employees deal with a medical condition, reduce pain, come to work feeling better, thrive in their roles, and support their career confidence, more employers may look favourably to adding it to benefits plans.
It’s unclear what, if any, benefit medical cannabis is having on employees and whether it’s positively impacting their workplace experience. Also in question is whether these employees will be able to go to work each day and perform to a standard that meets their own and their employer’s needs.