The National Safety Council (NSC) has added some clarity to a hazy situation with marijuana use and employers. To date, 33 states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws in some form, with 11 states legalizing recreational use.
But where does this leave employers? And where does the National Safety Council stand on marijuana use for employees?
The NSC released their current position on marijuana use with their most recent announcement, “At this time, NSC believes there is no level of cannabis use that is safe or acceptable for employees who work in safety sensitive positions.”
The National Safety Council has been a workplace safety advocate for more than 100 years, helping provide guidance for employers.
When asked what had influenced their position against marijuana use, they referenced a recent National Institute on Drug Abuse report that compared employees who tested negative for marijuana against employees who tested positive for marijuana. The report’s results found that employees who tested positive for the drug are:
-55% more likely to have industrial accidents
-85% more likely to be injured
-75% more likely to have absenteeism
In an October 2019 press release, Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of NSC, said, “Research clearly shows that cannabis impacts a person’s psychomotor skills and cognitive ability. In order to protect our employees and those around them, we need to acknowledge the impairing effects of cannabis. We urge employers to implement policies stating no amount of cannabis consumption is acceptable for those who work in safety-sensitive positions.”
Both the NSC and the Occupational and Environmental Medical Group have urged Congress to take worker safety into account when considering marijuana legalization. But things are still in flux, which is why the NSC’s position is so profound. It may help provide employers with some clarity and direction in the constantly changing world of marijuana legalization.