Unclear Charter: Marijuana, CBD Usage & The Workplace

At this year’s ASSP conference a panel discussed current issues regarding how the legalization of marijuana, popularization of CBD oil, and drug testing practices are impacting the workplace.

CBD supposedly does not contain THC and is being widely used for a variety of health reasons yet is unregulated by the FDA. One panelist recounted a story of a worker using CBD products who narrowly failed an employer’s drug test resulted in being barred from working on job sites for seven years.  There is now a case in NC where a woman was using CBD oil for relief from the discomfort of fibromyalgia, but the product contained trace amounts of THC found by a urine drug test.  She we terminated after working there for 14 years and is now suing the company.

Perhaps the correct question and assessment should be based on impairment. Clearly alcohol and drug use on company time is one thing, but CBD oil may be another. An article from OHSonline, noted a quote from one of the panelists at the conference, “If you have a drug and alcohol policy, change it to a ‘fit for work’ policy,” defining what fitness for work is, identifying safety-sensitive positions at the company, and training managers to recognize impairment.”

A medical officer for Broadspire recommended fostering a “see something, say something” culture and one where workers will help one another, which will prevent cover-ups, she said.  This type of culture is actually advocated by Amy Edmonson in her new book, Fearless Organizations.

There aren’t any clear answers or directions yet, but certainly much interest in the topic. What are your thoughts as well as your experiences related to this topic? What have you been learning and hearing? It would be great to have a conversation!

Gray Areas in the Marijuana Landscape


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