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Researchers say zero-tolerance cannabis policies may be ‘too broad’


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Toronto — Instead of having a zero-tolerance policy on cannabis use, employers may want to consider “minimum wait periods before a work shift when cannabis consumption is not allowed,” researchers say.

In 2018, recreational cannabis use became legal in Canada. To better understand changes in workers’ cannabis use, a team from the Institute for Work and Health used “three waves” of surveys from 2018 to 2020. They included a sample of responses from more than 1,700 workers.

The team found that the workers who reported using cannabis during or before work were twice as likely to be injured on the job as those who didn’t use cannabis.

However, “workers who only use cannabis outside of work hours are at no greater risk of getting injured at work than workers who do not use cannabis at all,” the researchers write.

Still, “employers’ concerns about workplace impairment associated with cannabis use shouldn’t be minimized,” lead study author Nancy Carnide said in a press release. “Workers should be educated about the workplace safety risks of using cannabis before or during work hours, which we clearly observed. However, zero-tolerance workplace policies that prohibit workers from using cannabis entirely are likely too broad.”

The study was published online in the Canadian Journal of Public Health.

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