The legalization of cannabis in Canada is expected to be in effect by the end of summer. With this implementation of this law, new policies will have to be put in place for retailers, employers, and the military. The challenging aspect is creating a policy that respects both the rights of the individual as well as the overall well being of the public.
With the legalization of marijuana on the horizon, businesses have been advised to revisit their work policy. Similar to alcohol, the legalization of marijuana is considered to be recreational (unless prescribed medically) and therefore employers will have the right to enforce a marijuana-free work environment.
Due to Marijuana’s ability to cause a lack of motor coordination and an altered sense of judgment, it can be dangerous for those involved in safety-sensitive jobs where heavy-machinery or equipment is operated. This is also a concern for drivers on the road and those serving in the military.
While the Canadian military is not banning the use of recreational marijuana, restrictions will be more encompassing than the military’s policy on alcohol. According to Lt.-Gen. Chuck Lamarre, chief of military personnel, the new policy that will be enforced by the military will respect the law but at the same time not compromise the quality and capability of the military.
One of the biggest concerns of the legalization of marijuana is evaluating whether or not someone is truly impaired. Unlike alcohol, there is not a concise method to determine the level of impairment.
Although urine tests can determine if cannabis is your system, it is not a reliable test. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the physiologically active component of marijuana, has the potential to remain in your body’s system for days, weeks, and sometimes even months. Blood tests present another option to detect THC since THC remains in the blood for only a few hours, but a blood test is still not able to detect the level of impairment.
Cannabix Technologies Inc., a Vancouver based technology company, is in the midst of developing a device known as the Cannabix Marijuana Breathalyzer that has the ability to measure the amount of THC on a person’s breath. Although the Cannabix Marijuana Breathalyzer has had some recent success, it still needs more time to be developed.
With the legalization of Marijuana soon to be in effect, retailers, employers, and the military all will have to create a policy that not only respects the individual but the overall safety and operability of the establishments.