We know the benefits and drawbacks of planning and hosting a company event. Many employers and HR professionals also know the liability issues and dangers of serving alcohol to employees. As a responsible and forward-thinking company, you may already have policies in place regarding company events. However, with legalized recreational marijuana just around the corner, employers will need to evaluate whether and how marijuana will be incorporated into their company event policies.
Read our article Green Screen: Marijuana, Impairment, and Drug Testing in the Workplace to get information on impairment, accommodation, and drug testing in the workplace.
While recreational marijuana will not be legalized in time for this year’s holiday festivities, company events and parties in the coming year may be affected. The challenge for employers will be to identify the unique ways that marijuana may factor into their company events. It’s important to remember that if you have sound company policies and guidelines relating to company events currently in place, then you are well on your way to achieving preparedness for legalized recreational marijuana at company events.
Though it may seem simple to continue to ban marijuana from events, or to prohibit those who are under the influence from attending, companies will need to take into account that marijuana use will be legal, and a portion of their workforce may take advantage of the new freedom. Organizations will need to decide how they feel about marijuana and make a decision that could affect their company’s culture. Do companies want to consider consumption of marijuana as tantamount to consuming alcohol, or do companies feel that marijuana poses a greater risk to employee safety at company events?
While legalized recreational marijuana seems to have made employers across the country a little nervous, you can be reassured that when it comes to company events, keeping things simple is the best approach. Decide how your company feels about marijuana at company events and then go from there. Once you have established your viewpoint, take a look and assess the risks. After that, relax, it’s not as bad as it seems. Take a breath; just don’t inhale (until it’s officially okay).
Government of Ontario, Ontario’s Plan to Regulate Legalized Cannabis
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Cannabis (Marijuana, Hashish)
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