420 with CNW – Canadian Employers Meet to Discuss Cannabis Legalization Implications

November 15, 2018 16:20:36

The cannabis forum of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) met last month to discuss the workplace implications of cannabis legalization. The forum speakers and participants raised some issues that all employers need to think about as they adjust to the new reality in the country.

The first issue related to the medical cover provided to employees. Employers were asked to think about how they would respond if employees filed claims for medical cannabis benefits. Does the law compel the employer to provide such cover, or it is left to employers to decide whether to provide those benefits?

The second concern had to do with preventing impaired employees from showing up at work. Questions were raised about how the right of the employees to consume recreational cannabis could be married to the need to prevent impairment at work.

There was a suggestion that employers can impose consumption guidelines similar to what other sensitive sectors, such as the airline industry, impose on employees. For example, pilots are instructed to refrain from taking alcohol within a certain number of hours before they are scheduled to fly a plane.

The employers were cautioned to avoid imposing a blanket ban on cannabis consumption since that would be illegal and expose them to liability issues. Only those employers who could prove that the job required total abstinence could take such action. For example, it would be reasonable to restrict security guards from consuming recreational cannabis on the job or some hours before their shift begins.

There was a call for scientific data on how long someone can be impaired after consuming cannabis. Such data would provide a basis upon which employers can draft cannabis policies for their employees.

The issue of impaired customers was also raised. It is one thing to provide guidelines for your employees and it is a totally different matter when it comes to impaired customers in retail outlets.

Members in attendance suggested that employees need to be given some training regarding how to handle customers who visit retail establishments while apparently impaired after consuming cannabis.

The possible fear of being stigmatized for consuming recreational marijuana also came up. A speaker at the forum predicted that some employees may falsely claim that they are medical cannabis users in order to explain away their impairment while at work.

Other members suggested that it would be reasonable for employers to ask employees for a copy of their documentation for medical cannabis to prevent such false claims. However, the employer should not ask for the diagnosis upon which the authorization card was issued since that would be overstepping the acceptable boundaries.

The forum ended with members agreeing that more sessions need to be organized so that people can continue to share experiences and ideas regarding the workplace implications of cannabis legalization. Such healthy and progressive discussions are music to the ears of cannabis companies like Earth Science Tech, Inc. (OTCQB: ETST) and FinCanna Capital Corp. (CSE: CALI) (OTCQB: FNNZF) since such discussions differ from the polarized, adversarial pronouncements that are made in some jurisdictions.

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