Cannabis Complications for Employers

By Alana Smart / October 8, 2021 / Blog ,

Cannabis Complications for Employers

The National Safety Council (NSC) has released the results of a survey that was conducted to determine the risks associated with cannabis in the workplace. The survey conducted between April and May 2021, collected responses from 500 employers and 1,000 employees and the findings suggest that employers have more work to do to educate and protect their workers.

According to the survey, cannabis can have a major impact on the safety of employees and employers are facing challenges as the legality of cannabis continues to change. NSC says the employer holds the responsibility to develop a culture of safety, accountability, and honesty for employees as it pertains to cannabis, according to a press release.

The survey also found that:

  • One third of employees say that they have observed marijuana use during work hours
  • Less than half of organizations have a written policy addressing cannabis
  • Employees are in need of clear communication about cannabis and employer policy
  • More than half of employers that eliminated THC testing reported seeing an increase in incidents or other workplace performance concerns
  • Most employers believe employees would feel comfortable self-reporting if they were too impaired to work, while less than half of employees reported that they would feel comfortable telling supervisors if they were impaired


"As more states legalize cannabis for recreational and medicinal use, employers must take clear, strong stances to ensure worker safety," said Lorraine Martin, NSC president and CEO. "Research clearly shows that cannabis impacts a person's ability to safely perform their job, and we hope employers everywhere will heed our recommendations."


NSC recommends that employers:

  • Establish a clear, fair cannabis policy that prevents impairment in the workplace and provides support for employees
  • Build a safety-focused, trusting culture for employees to report cannabis use in the workplace
  • Advocate for increased access to employee assistance programs (EAPs) and health care benefits for those with substance use disorders
  • Train supervisors to recognize and respond to impairment in the workplace

NSC will share additional employer recommendations and launch the Impairment Recognition and Response Training for Supervisors at the 2021 NSC Safety Congress & Expo in Orlando, Florida October 11-13.

To find up to date information regarding cannabis and testing in the workplace please follow our blog post, Marijuana Testing: A Guide for Testing Your Employees and Candidates


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