Majority of Colorado Cannabis Industry Getting High at Work

Study Finds the Majority of Colorado Cannabis Industry Getting High at Work

The cannabis industry is still a very formative sector of the market. The foray into legal cannabis is a journey into unchartered territory and as a result, many cannabis businesses lack the sort of regulations and professional standards that more established industries might possess.

This fact is most evident in the case of workplace impairment. A recent study published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that a majority of Colorado cannabis industry workers are getting high at work.

Researchers at Colorado State University found that as much as 63% of the entire cannabis industry in their home state has shown up high to work in the past month. In addition to this 45% of the industry said they have smoked weed during business hours.

This might not seem like too big of a deal. Cannabis isn’t the debilitating, impairing substance that alcohol is. So what’s the issue?

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What’s Wrong With Getting High at Work?

Micheal Scott buys weed, the office, Colorado employees are smoking weed
For those in high-risk jobs within the weed industry, consuming weed in the workplace might not be the best decision (image via We Heart It)

Different jobs require different levels of attention. This is particularly true of occupations where the consequences of a blunder could mean death or serious injury.

Some careers within the cannabis industry are relatively low stakes. For those employed as budtenders, shopkeepers and other retail-oriented positions, getting high at work is probably not of great concern to the public. It is likely the case that employers would rather these people did not consume cannabis at work, but losing one’s job is probably the biggest consequence for stoners who mix work and pleasure.

However, the cannabis industry is home to plenty of high-risk jobs where attention to detail and precision mean everything. Transportation is one of these.

While many people claim that driving high can enhance their abilities, there is certainly a point of diminishing returns. While roadside testing for cannabis is in its infancy, one must assume that a zero tolerance policy for driving high should be in effect. It’s reasonable to take this for granted until experts come to some sort of a consensus as to what constitutes a safe level of THC in your system to drive with.

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Dangerous Chemicals

On the growth and manufacturing side of things, a number of dangerous chemicals can pose a great health risk if not handled with care. Fertilizers and various pesticides require the utmost diligence from those tasked with them. The margin for error can indeed be slim.

Despite this fact, the study in question found that upper management in the cannabis industry sometimes allows employees to handle dangerous chemicals and equipment under the influence of marijuana.

The issue extends far beyond just the consumption of weed, however. Getting high at work was just one symptom of a greater issue within the weed industry in Colorado. The study found that endemic within the industry was a lack of proper regulation and a lackadaisical attitude towards health and safety.

“Colorado cannabis workers… regularly consumed cannabis, expressed low concerns about workplace hazards, reported some occupational injuries and exposures, and reported inconsistent training practices.”

The study’s authors expressed an urgency towards the notion that the cannabis industry would benefit from improving its training and enforcement of health and safety policy.

“There is an imminent need to establish formal health and safety training to implement best practices,”
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A Stoner’s Compromise

Seth rogan and James Franco Smoke weed, pineapple express
The cannabis industry is in the midst of an image makeover… A lack of safety standards has the potential to stigmatize an entire industry (image via MTL Blog)

Legalization is ultimately a great thing for cannabis consumers. However, like anything else brought under the watchful eye of the state, a compromise or two might be in order.

While marijuana objectively, does not pose the same risks to personal and public health as many legal drugs such as alcohol, getting high at work is not always a good idea.

Cannabis does have some effects on reaction time. While this might be irrelevant to some professions, in others, it can mean the difference between life and death.

Cannabis users must be prepared to make certain concessions if they want to be brought out of the shadows of the black market and given full legitimacy and acceptance.


National Implications

At the moment, all eyes are on Colorado. What transpires in this state will indeed have far-reaching implications for the fate of cannabis elsewhere in the country. Many states are on the brink of ending cannabis prohibition. However, as witnessed in Oklahoma, this is not a foregone conclusion by any means.

Additionally, weed is still federally illegal. This has a variety of consequences, from preventing valuable medical research, to forcing the cannabis industry to operate in a perilous cash economy.

The cannabis industry must prove that is like Ceaser’s wife… beyond suspicion. In order to win the hearts and minds of the American people, including the most ardent republican opposition, those associated with marijuana must work diligently to rectify perception of this maligned plant and the people who utilize it.

In this way, getting high at work has the potential for far-reaching repercussions for the entire cannabis industry.

Waiting until after work to get high is a small price to pay

By: Stefan Hosko
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