July 1st is always an important day in this country as it is Canada’s birthday (we’re 151 this year and looking good!). However, it also holds great historical significance as this is the day when recreational marijuana will become legal for the first time in Canadian history. This ruling has been a long time coming and is seen as a significant victory for marijuana activists who contend that the drug is not overly harmful when used responsibly.
Medical testing for marijuana and substances is not anything new, with various ways of determining whether someone is under the influence (e.g. the check hair test for marijuana). However, the fact that pot is now legal for anyone of the appropriate age in that province makes it tough to demonize. People sometimes have a beer or a glass of wine on their lunch breaks; what about a joint?
Depending on where you live, however, that would be a difficult proposition. In Ontario, for example, you can only smoke marijuana in your own home, not outdoors and not in a marijuana café (these are prohibited). So, if you’re on the job, technically, you must go home to smoke (no edibles will be approved for another year at least) and then come back. That increases the risk of getting pulled over and given a roadside impairment test, the details of which are still being worked out.
Being impaired on the job rarely results in anyone doing better work. There tends to be more delays and errors, and communication often suffers, which is bad for the workplace and the company’s relations with the public. Businesses will have to decide whether they prefer a don’t ask, don’t tell approach, zero tolerance, or some tolerance of pot use, provided that it does not harm the person’s output or compromise safety in any way.