Workplace Fatalities Are Dropping in States with Medical Marijuana Programs

With 30 states now allowing patients to access medical marijuana legally, many employers are facing the challenge of multiple employees failing routine drug tests. Although “there is little scientific research on the possible risks of cannabis use in the workplace,” employees are finding themselves out of jobs because of failed drug tests. On the other hand, the research on the dangers of opioid and alcohol use in the workplace has been well documented.

A “study, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, examined data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting the number of workplace fatalities in every state between 1992 and 2015.” The study concluded that “workplace fatalities have been significantly declining in states with legal medical marijuana.” The study also found that in employees 25-44 workplace fatalities fell 34%. “The same reduction was not as present among workers aged 16 to 24, however.” Researchers could not explain this phenomenon and conclude that further research needed to be conducted.

The hope of many employees facing firing or reprimand for failed drug tests is that this research will help move the ball forward on protecting the rights of individuals using state-legal medical marijuana at work. Courts appear to be on the side of the employer at his point on marijuana firings, but Maine, Arizona, Minnesota, and Illinois have passed laws protecting MMJ users’ rights to work. Federal employees are in jeopardy without the window of state protection but are hopeful that legislation introduced by Rep. Charlie Crist will allow them and the military to use MMJ.

The health benefits of cannabis have been conclusively shown to outweigh the risks of cannabis when it comes to the alternatives of opioids and alcohol. Team Zefyr stands with employees and patients that use medical marijuana. We are also employers and also understand the challenges of employee use of marijuana on the job. Unfortunately, all employers will have to wrestle with this issue sooner or later. Losing good employees to biased drug testing policies is not a sustainable solution.

Full Article by: Mary Jane

Victor MadrilComment