The Legalization of Marijuana…an HR Perspective

The inevitable has come.  It wasn’t long ago that the thought of marijuana being legal in Canada seemed far-fetched, but reality is that it is here and will likely be one of the hot topics in HR.

Having said that, let’s talk about it.  What is your company’s view and take on marijuana or should I say, “medicinal marijuana” use and its potential effect on your workforce.  It’s not as clear cut as it used to be and HR professionals should have clear guidelines in discussing workplace policy when it comes to this topic.

First, does your company have a policy in place with regard to medicinal marijuana?  Second, if one is not present, should you have one?  Third, if you do have one or at least plan on creating one, how should it be presented?

Our company recently just created a policy on medicinal marijuana and it’s a good idea for companies to have.  Not only are you setting clear expectations and guidelines on your workers, but more importantly will protect your company from any risks and exposure.

The need to create this policy was a necessity.  Because our industry is in the transportation and supply chain one, we truly wanted to be clear in our stance to protect our drivers (which makes up more than half our employees) and also protect public safety.  Our policy clearly states that no driver is to operate a commercial vehicle while under the influence.  It continues and further states that anyone under prescribed medications (medicinal marijuana), must be first cleared by a physician before returning to duty.  We approached this topic from a safety standpoint and clearly maintains an objective tone.  Be careful on the wording as well, and ensure that the policy does not discriminate individuals with an illness.  Every company has the duty to accommodate its employees to the point of undue hardship.

But this does not necessarily mean, that only transportation companies have one; all companies should have a policy in place.  It’s a best practice.

With this said, expect changes to happen with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and in addressing workplace hazards.

So, are you ready?