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Cannabis use across industries and occupations: What can-a-business do?

Author: Marijuana News / Source: 420 Intel

  • As conversations continue concerning the nation-wide push to legalize marijuana, businesses are struggling with how to position themselves regarding the issue, while simultaneously maneuvering around conflicting federal and statewide legislation.
  • Studies show that more people use medicinal and recreational Marijuana than previously projected, however the information is also useful for employers to regulate the substance on a private level.
  • “This information can be utilized by employers across the country to determine appropriate workplace marijuana policies and safety awareness campaigns.”

Legalized cannabis is quickly making an entrance into all corners of the United States. Currently, nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use. An additional 20 states allow medical marijuana. These numbers are likely to grow as the societal and political perspectives on cannabis legalization continue to shift.

The ever-changing landscape of legalized marijuana makes it difficult for employers to comply with both state and federal laws and has caused many to question whether their policies and practices should be revised. Employers should evaluate their workforce drug policies and assess whether they are prepared to handle the consequence of their policies in the wake of increased legalization and decreased stigma.

Shifting Stances On Legalization And Use

Despite an increasing number of states allowing legalized marijuana, cannabis is still a Schedule I illegal drug under the Controlled Substances Act. In January 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested a willingness to enforce this federal law when he rescinded the Obama-era Cole Memo, which had assured minimal federal interference with legitimate businesses in states where marijuana was legal.

In April 2018, however, several new developments occurred that indicate the federal government is changing its tone. First, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested public comments on the “abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes” of cannabis substances.

Second, for the first time, the FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended approval of a cannabis-based medication intended to treat severe seizures in children. Third, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that he would soon introduce a bill to decriminalize marijuana under federal law. And finally, it was announced that President Donald Trump promised a senator from Colorado that the he would support efforts to protect states with legalized marijuana.

These moves parallel a shift in the public’s opinion on marijuana legalization. In October 2017, Gallup poll results revealed that 64 percent of Americans are in favor of marijuana legalization. For the first time, this number included a majority of people from both major political parties. Former senate majority leader John Boehner, previously anti-cannabis, announced earlier this month that he was joining the board of directors for a multi-state cannabis corporation. In doing so, he announced that his opinion of cannabis, “like that of millions of other Americans, has evolved.”

Study On Marijuana Usage By Occupation And Industry

The evolution of marijuana legalization has led to an increase in research about the public’s cannabis consumption. The results of these studies can inform employers about the realities of marijuana use by members of their workforce. The newest example of such research examined marijuana use in Colorado—the first state to decriminalize recreational use—but its findings may be useful for employers across the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published data about current marijuana use in Colorado and categorized that data based on work industry and occupation. The study examined information provided by more than 10,000 Colorado workers aged 18 or older during 2014-2015.

The findings reveal that 14.6 percent of Colorado adult workers are current marijuana users. The highest prevalence of marijuana use was among young adults (29.6%), males (17.2%), those working in the accommodation and food services industry (30.1%), and those with the occupation of food preparation and serving (32.2%).

The study also revealed some industries and occupations with surprisingly higher than average marijuana usage rates. For example, adults in many professional industries reported higher than average marijuana use: life,…

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