As Canada approaches the full legalization of cannabis in July, 2018, there has been a great deal of discussion about the use of medical cannabis in the workplace. From coast to coast, workers who are either interested in medical cannabis or already rely on it have asked the same question: am I allowed to use medical cannabis at work?
Currently, there is no blanket policy on medical cannabis in the workplace. Organizations may prohibit the use of cannabis in the workplace, but they cannot ban the use of cannabis for a medical condition if medical justification such as a diagnosis and/or a prescription is provided.
The only exception where the use of medical cannabis at work may be debated is if the user demonstrates signs of impairment.
According to a 2013 ruling by The Supreme Court of Canada, though “drug testing in the workplace violates a worker’s rights to privacy and dignity” if an employee is believed to be impaired, a drug test can be demanded. In this case medical cannabis falls under the same category as any other medication in which justifiable proof of impairment can be grounds for a reprimand or dismissal depending on the circumstances and if this is a first time or repeated action.
Employers are also not allowed to discriminate against a worker with a disability or disease, but they can remove a worker who is using medical cannabis from a safety sensitive position in the company.
Before using medical cannabis at their workplace, users should consult with their physician and ensure that they are safely and responsibly ingesting the dosage and strain of medical cannabis that not only treats the symptoms of their medical condition, but also allows them to function to the best of their ability.
For more information on current regulations regarding the use of medical cannabis in the workplace, click here
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