Preparing for the Legalization of Marijuana. The best Tips for HR Professionals

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The legalization of marijuana has HR professionals worried about how it will affect the workplace environment.

In fact, 71% of employers aren’t prepared for cannabis legalization yet, according to a survey.

On June 25, 2019, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis, but it’s still illegal under federal law. If your state has legalized recreational use of marijuana, as an HR professional, you must enforce some policies that curb the use of cannabis in the workplace.

Establishing a straightforward workplace impairment policy is important. To implement this the right way, you must understand that each workplace has a different environment, and you’ll need to account for your own industry when crafting a solid policy.

Below are some of the best tips for HR professionals to help them create an effective marijuana policy.

#1: Outline Your Company’s Position on Workplace Impairment

In order to promote employee buy-in, you must communicate your company’s stance on office impairment. As an HR professional, you need to precisely state the reasoning behind your position, as well as what compliance steps you will take to uphold the policies.

If you’re going to tolerate consumption, define the max acceptable limit (before THC—the mind-altering substance in cannabis—is considered to affect the user) and implement a preventive approach. Lastly, provide clear examples of what is tolerated and what isn’t tolerated in the office and account for each form of marijuana.

#2: Organize Consultations Before Creating Your Policy

To make sure your policies promote real-world concerns, you need to conduct consultations in order to determine potential sources of conflicts. It’s recommended to meet with your employee reps and legal counsel. These consultations will specifically help companies assess their power along with the general impact of marijuana in workplaces.

#3: Avoid Employee Conflicts

As you’re crafting a detailed policy, keep in mind the possible employee conflicts. Depending on how old they are and what beliefs they have, among many other factors, it’s possible that some employees will be more against cannabis than others.

Keep this thought in mind and provide transparent information concerning the policy and cannabis in general. Be honest and open with your position on impairment in the workplace. It will help to limit potential blowbacks.

#4: Involve the Right Individuals

Creating the right policies starts with the right kind of people. When crafting a policy on workplace impairment, it is important to organize a committee that will enforce consistent rules across the company and is comprised of representatives from communications and legal departments, select employees, and unions.

Furthermore, the committee will review policies on workplace impairment regularly.

In industries that require workers to operate heavy machinery or where several other safety concerns are relevant, working under the influence should be strictly prohibited. The committee can also alter drug test guidelines to exclude marijuana during routine drug tests.

#5: Implement Your Policy

Before you decide to implement your policy, take some time to train each individual that isn’t an employee, and has a role to play. They need to know the enforcement measures and purpose of your policies.

In addition, your company needs to be robust in communicating the use of such policies to adopt company-wide buy-in. Policies, no matter who’s communicating them, should be introduced comprehensively and objectively.

To communicate your policy, you can use email, employee training, and a number of other channels. For instance, HR software can solve most of your HR-related challenges while allowing you to focus on building your business. However, make sure you develop an open dialogue between the company enforcing the policies and the employee abiding by them.

#6: Keep the Policies Up-to-Date

Besides affecting the HR professionals, the legalization of marijuana will have a sprawling impact on case law. Therefore, it’s essential to remain up-to-date on rulings and decisions as they can affect how you handle your workplace impairment.

Moreover, a regular policy review will remind employees of its limitations, goals, and constraints.

Wrapping Up

Addressing marijuana use and impairment in the office is a fairly complex process. HR professionals are expected to implement certain procedures and policies for managing workplace impairment in an empathic, confidential manner.

Additionally, if accommodations are required, HR professionals must work side-by-side with medical professionals and employees to ensure a healthy, safe, and collaborative workplace.

To sum up:

  • Get a clear understanding of your state laws regarding the use of medical marijuana.
  • Organize sessions to educate employees on the side-effects and harms of cannabis consumption during working hours.
  • Respond to employee requests and queries properly.
  • Conduct thorough inspections to ensure it isn’t abused at the workplace.
  • Always keep your policies up-to-date.

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