Largest study yet shows workplace safety not impacted by cannabis use

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Cannabis opponents who believe consumption leads to workplace accidents have no argument

In a recent study of the “job discrimination aspect of employee drug testing programs,” employees with a history of cannabis use over the past year have “just as good job safety records” as do non-consumers. The study showing the results used data published in the journal Occupational Medicine.

The Department of Occupational Medicine at the University of Toronto studied the relationship between past-year cannabis use and work-related injuries based on a sample of 136,500 Canadian workers and found “no association between past-year cannabis use and work-related injury” for employees in any occupation, including those who worked in high injury risk occupations.

In test after documented test, the findings were that “adults who consume cannabis in their off-hours are no more likely to suffer injuries at work than are those employees who abstain from the substance.” Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML, commented on the study’s findings, “Suspicionless marijuana testing in the workplace is not now, nor has it ever been, an evidence-based policy. Rather, these discriminatory practices are a holdover from the zeitgeist of the 1980s ‘war on drugs.’’’

The states of Nevada and Maine have recently adopted policies that prohibit certain employers from refusing to hire a worker solely because he or she tested for cannabis on a pre-employment drug screen. Various large cities, including Washington, DC, Richmond, Virginia and New York City, among others, have enacted legislation limiting the use of marijuana-specific pre-employment drug screening.

Armentano added, “It is time for workplace policies to adapt to this new reality and to cease punishing employees for activities they engage in during their off-hours that pose no workplace safety threat.’’