Marijuana Workers Safety

The fact that more and more states have started legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational purposes means that more and more people are working with marijuana on a daily basis. The problem is that the industry has grown so fast that safety measures and standards haven’t been able to keep up. Colorado, being the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, has had more time than anyone else to put something together to aid with marijuana workers right and safety. They have just published a “Marijuana occupational safety and health” section on their website and it’s fairly comprehensive.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

How is legalized marijuana going to affect workplace drug policies?

I live in Washington state, one of two states that has legalized marijuana for recreational use. By the middle of this summer anyone over 21 years of age should be able to go into one of several stores and purchase marijuana for personal use. There’s a problem though and it relates to drug-free workplace policies.

If your company has a drug-free policy (government and state contract job are all required to be drug-free) then even if you are no longer under the influence, you’re going to test positive up to a week later and get fired. Most other drugs, like cocaine or pain killers dissolve in your system in a relatively short period of time whereas marijuana stays in your system. You can go home on Friday night and snort a large amount of cocaine, show up at work on Monday morning, get drug tested and pass. If you smoke a joint, however, you’ll test positive even though the effects of the drug will have long worn off and that joint you smoke is in no way impairing your ability to do your job safely.

Even medical marijuana will get you fired. A medical marijuana case in Colorado (the only other state where marijuana is legal) got a worker fired even though he had a prescription. He took it to court and lost. He’s presently appealing the sentence but it’s doubtful whether he’ll win.

So, the question is, if it’s legal to take marijuana in WA and CO, who exactly is going to be able to take it? Apparently only the unemployed and even they would get in trouble if drug tested because I’m guessing that the state doesn’t want to pay unemployment to people who take drugs.

What needs to happen is that a new system for drug testing needs to be put in place. If it’s legal to take marijuana, like it’s legal to have a few drinks after work, then the issue should be “Is your use of marijuana interfering with your ability to do your job safely and effectively?” not whether or not, four days later we can still find traces of it in your system.

What are your thoughts on this topic?


“Fake” Marijuana Poses a very Real Danger

It’s called “Potpourri”, “Spice”, “K2”, “Fake Weed” or “Synthetic Marijuana” and it’s legal in a lot of states. In Emily’s case, she purchased it at a gas station. Emily, 17 is now brain damaged and blind. No one can say for sure if she will ever walk or have full use of her arms again. For a long time they weren’t sure if she would live or recover brain function.


Read her full story here or find out about the organization called SAFE (Synthetic Awareness For Emily) that her parents started on Facebook where others who’ve had a bad experience with the synthetic marijuana share their stories as well.

Marijuana Consumption Doubles likelihood of collision

I can still remember what they used to say “I actually drive better when I’m high because I’m more focused” or something very like that. They were talking about how they drive while under the influence of cannabis.

A new study, published in the “British Medical Journal” (you can view the abstract on the BMJ website here), begs to differ.

In a study that encompasses almost 50,000 people and compromised 9 different studies, the conclusion reached is that consumption of marijuana doubles your likelihood of having a collision.

Strangely enough, this is the first study to isolate marijuana specifically; previous studies lumped marijuana in with alcohol and other drugs. This is significant because marijuana is currently the most popular drug being consumed with an increase of consumption showing up all around the world.

With many states cracking down harder on drunk drivers, the results of this study suggest that testing drivers for alcohol is probably not enough. If, as some studies suggest, 15% or more of drivers on the roads have consumed marijuana in the past 12 hours than simply targeting drivers who are under the influence of alcohol might be letting of a huge percentage of people who shouldn’t be on the roads either.