Article by Dr. Taylor Lougheed, Ottawa Citizen
In the wake of cannabis legalization, many businesses continue to grapple with how best to develop workplace policies around recreational use. Unfortunately, anyone looking toward the law enforcement community for guidance may come away with more questions than answers.
Over the last several weeks, many of the largest police departments in the country have released their policies relating to the use of cannabis by their off-duty officers. A quick scan reveals a veritable potpourri of approaches that may leave many other business leaders scratching their heads.
A sampling of some of the largest Canadian cities shows, for example, that Calgary and Edmonton police departments have both adopted full bans on any off-duty recreational use. Toronto, by contrast, requires 28 days of abstinence prior to work, whereas Montréal requires eight hours. On the other end of the spectrum are cities such as Ottawa and Saskatoon, which have adopted a “fit for duty” approach that is similar to how they deal with alcohol and possibly impairing medications. These wide differences highlight how the profession tasked with upholding the new law is itself still struggling to fully understand the safety implications of cannabis use amongst its own ranks.
When it comes to the workplace, the main question is undoubtedly safety, which largely translates to the risk of impairment. Just as intoxication with alcohol or impairment with any other medication or drug is a safety concern, so too with cannabis. So how did these departments come up with such different policies?