Let’s Talk: Cannabis Consumption Policies in The Workplace

Retaining top talent will be difficult with strict policies surrounding cannabis consumption as states continue to legalize cannabis.

Photo Credit: Victig

As the legalization of cannabis continues its momentum through US states, human resources leads and business owners in all industries, even the cannabis industry, are adapting to how they enforce drug policies. The next decade is going to be a pivotal time for companies who want to attract and retain skilled, knowledgeable workers.

According to a 2021 Leafly report, job growth in the industry has grown 32% year-over-year. And 2020 was a demanding year, with Americans purchasing $18.3 billion worth of products.

The issue is that 40-60% of those employees leave within the first 2 months, including those at the top levels. This creates huge turnover costs that are much more valuable for businesses with already limited resources. Cannabis is medicine and that means creating a workplace with more open drug-testing policies surrounding cannabis consumption, and an emotionally intelligent culture that supports them.

The Ethical Impact Of Strict Cannabis Consumption Policies in the Workplace

With a surge of businesses being created in newly legalized states, and the workforce becoming global, employees and employees that consume cannabis,have the advantage of deciding who they want to work for. It suggests that companies with strict drug-testing policies or non-inclusive work cultures will be at the bottom of people’s choices.

For those who consume cannabis to treat physical chronic conditions or mental/emotional wellness, their health is immediately at risk if they are restricted access to their medicine. This creates a problem when consumers need their medicine to rest, heal, and recharge in their off hours. Cannabis consumption off of the clock shouldn’t place an employee at risk. It’s only right to have workplace policies in support of cannabis consumption off of the clock. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to accommodate qualified employees with disabilities, though medical marijuana is not required. However, some states do, so it’s important to check state laws. Regardless, there’s nothing in the ADA that forbids it. So long as employees don’t report under the influence at work or pose a direct threat, it only benefits employers to relax their policies.

You’ll want your employees showing up to work as their best, most productive self. They won’t be able to do that if they’re forbidden to consume cannabis to cope with daily stressors like someone does with alcohol or tobacco (which are proven to be far more unhealthy).

Having Supportive Cannabis Consumption Workplace Policies Opens Talent

Of course, some level of strictness is still crucial to a productive business. An alternative solution for employers is to administer performance tests rather than drug tests. As long as their work and cognition isn’t impacted, why does it matter what people do to relax outside of the workplace?

Having more open policies widens the pool of strong candidates who have direct knowledge and experience with the medicine. Not only is this beneficial for budtenders, but also upper level employees who have a meaningful impact on the distribution and education of cannabis.

Relaxed drug testing also increases retention rates, since workers don’t have to feel like they’re hiding their medicinal use. You wouldn’t have your employees looking for other jobs with more open policies who would gladly have them.

According to a 10-year white paper, 79% of employees leave organizations because of “lack of appreciation.” People actually quit their bosses rather than the company itself. This is why emotional intelligence is important for the workplace and its culture.

What Your Employees Really Want

The data shows, along with competitive pay, employees want recognition as meaningful contributors. At the end of the day, humans value community and a sense of belonging. 

Even at the most high-paying jobs, if the culture is deteriorating our mental and emotional wellbeing and their relationships, many will take a pay cut to work in a healthier place. And as mentioned before, employees right now have the privilege of options in this growing industry, should they find an employer who’s non-inclusive.

This is why emotional intelligence, which encompasses stress management, conflict resolution, leadership, and empathy, is so important in the workplace. 

Imagine if you had a leadership team or manager that makes you feel heard, that fosters an environment that allows creative expression and problem-solving. Imagine if you didn’t have to feel like an imposter or that you’re hiding something just by being there.

How To Create An Emotionally Intelligent Culture

Learn to identify, manage, and express emotions, starting with yourself. The impact you have on your environment comes from the impact you create within yourself.

Increase your own emotional vocabulary. Rather than using common words like angry, sad, or happy, dive deeper into what’s behind that emotion. Frustration? Disappointment? Misunderstood? Joyous? Playful? Stimulated?

Learn to embrace those emotions as the nature of an imperfect, impermanent human being. They’re not something “bad” to be avoided or so “good” that we have to chase constantly. The discomfort the negative ones bring is a stress tolerance exercise. The satisfaction the positive ones bring is a gratitude exercise.

The actions we take from that place will then be magnetic, empathetic, and collaborative. It will attract the ones around you who will be happy building you up with loyalty and fandom.

It’s ironic to call myself a cannabis wellness and emotional fitness coach because I grew up ignorant of the benefits of both. But using cannabis to intentionally improve my emotional wellbeing, I’ve seen myself transform from a shy, insecure, reserved kid to someone who’s full of gratitude for the freedom and confidence I now have in my life, career, and relationships. I write about how cannabis and mindfulness meditation has been crucial for both my development as a leader and educator professionally, as well as personally redefining my masculinity, cultural identity, creativity, and success.

Written by: Victor Ung

Edited by: Veronica Castillo

Sponsored by:

Herb of Life Cultivation, LLC

Korasana (with partner Zero Point Extractions)

Peacock/ Wunderkind CBD

The Botanical Joint

Portland Ashwagandha Farm 

Just Bee Kynd 

I Slang Sea Moss (Welcome New Sponsor)

Thank you all for supporting the mission of this blog by taking care of the Writers! With your support, we are able to educate, inform, connect, and break stigmas. Cannabis builds community, and we are grateful to you all for being a part of ours! Please visit our sponsors! Collectively, they compensate the Writers for their contributions to this blog.