With the rise in awareness and discussion of smoking cannabis, employers are becoming increasingly aware that their staff may be smoking at work. Obviously, depending on the profession, this can have an impact on performance and many Companies have introduced drugs testing in the last few years.
Some research in America in to the effects of smoking cannabis, has found that the short term effects can last for four hours and long term smokers can have some impaired cognitive ability. However they can not conclude that these effects do pose a general safety risk. This particular study also concludes that urine testing is not particularly effective.
Also in America there is a rise in smoking cannabis for medicinal purposes. Some states have now allowed this to be legal for pain relief. However there are still a lot of Companies who will fire individuals if tested positive regardless of their reasons for smoking. This is starting to change, as the laws are changing in response to education about the medicinal value of smoking cannabis for so many people. People’s attitudes to smoking cannabis still affect employers, along with a worry that it may affect performance and focus of employees.
There is no clear cut evidence as to how it affects people, as it is very much down to the individual and bosses are still worried that it could be a safety risk and dangerous for people to carry out certain jobs when smoking cannabis and there is also the issue of insurance. There is a recent story of a stockbroker who is very successful, who smokes around ten cannabis joints a day for pain relief. This is just one individual but does highlight significant changes and shows that it may not be as clear cut as some people would like it to be.
People smoking cannabis that drive as part of their job have come under discussion. It
is illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis therefore that is reflected in jobs where employees are driving. Some studies also show that smoking cannabis does impair co-ordination, balance and concentration.
One Swiss study has gone against common belief and concluded that, after looking at
statistics in an emergency department, that cannabis had a ‘protective effect’ and cannabis users were more careful, ‘contemplative and cautious’. This may go some way to going against some of the inbred stereotypical views of cannabis smokers.
However there are some jobs that people might agree that it may not be good to smoke cannabis whilst doing, for example pilots. This would maybe show that there is no clear cut law that can be passed and that perhaps testing and regulation should be job specific, based on the type of job, not the views and beliefs of the Employer.
Smoking cannabis affects everybody differently. There are testimonials from a lot of adults that have been smoking regularly (roughly ten joints a day) for a number of years and do this whilst carrying out a manual job. They argue that they are perfectly capable of carrying out their jobs and have done for years and without any complaint from bosses. Who may well have a different opinion if they knew, just because of their own views.
There are also the group of people that smoke ‘socially’, at weekends and in the evenings who say that if they introduced drug testing at their places of work, as they are doing more and more, then they feel it unfair that they would test positive because of what they do in their private life and that it has no effect on their ability to carry out their job properly.
With the rise in drug testing, people have also found ways around testing, so as to not get caught if tested. Some people will spend a lot of time and effort in installing something that will hold a sample that they can use instead of their own.
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