America’s increasingly liberal attitude regarding cannabis consumption has started to impact workplace policies. For decades, both federal and state law outlawed cannabis, which was in turn mirrored in workplace policies across the country. Most employers had a zero-tolerance policy on cannabis, with some even requiring regular drug tests and firing employees who failed. But with cannabis reform sweeping the nation, companies are starting to reconsider their drug policies.
This became increasingly clear when Amazon, the largest player in the e-commerce market with 1.3 million employees around the world, announced that it would cease testing job seekers for marijuana. A lot of businesses had been revising their drug policies in the wake of increased cannabis legalization, but Amazon’s announcement showed that the cannabis reform movement was gaining major traction. However, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce Todd Maisch says that while plenty of companies are relaxing their attitudes toward cannabis, there’s still plenty that aren’t.
No business wants their employees to be impaired while on the job, he says, but for a lot of them, the days of random drug tests are drawing to a close. It ultimately depends on the type of business, with some having a lot of flexibility regarding their drug policies and others being unwilling and in most cases unable to relax their drug policies. For instance, businesses in construction whose employees have to use heavy machinery have to maintain a drug-free policy to keep their staff safe while on-site as well as to limit their culpability in case an impaired employee is involved in a workplace accident.
Additionally, entities and individuals that have contracts with the federal government are required to stay clear of all drugs, even the ones that are state legal, because drug use is outlawed by federal law. As such, Maisch says, the evolution of workplace policies regarding cannabis consumption has had two approaches, with some companies adapting to the changing times and others digging their heels in and adhering to federal policy on cannabis. Fortunately for cannabis-reform proponents, current events have influenced how employers treat cannabis.
The pandemic had a historic effect on the job market, forcing a lot of industries to slow down in the wake of lockdown orders and promoting a work-from-home culture. More than a year after the coronavirus struck and as the world started opening up, people began questioning the job market and demanding fair pay and benefits. This has led to a labor shortage of the likes we have never seen before, and employers are scrambling to hire employees who are willing to join their ranks.
Thus, employers across the country are ready to loosen their workplace policies, especially regarding off-duty cannabis use, Maisch says. This easing of restrictions is likely to open up even more the clientele for cannabis products made by companies such as Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE: RWB) (OTCQX: RWBYF) since more people will be willing to consider cannabis usage during their off-duty hours.
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