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Another Workforce Challenge

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As a company we follow the law of the land and our policies carefully abide the rules set by our customers.

We work hard to insure safety in the workplace. We test to guard against the influence of substances that impede performance and jeopardize safety – whether alcohol, over the counter depressants, prescribed medications or THC. 
 
We conduct pre-employment, random and for-cause drug and alcohol testing; and, we take legal and appropriate action when any employee tests positive. 
 
The elimination of restrictions on recreational use of marijuana continues across the nation and it does not take a crystal ball to predict eventual legalization across all 50 states. Lately it’s been faster than anyone anticipated. 
 
Can we see the time when a worker tests positive for barely traceable marijuana use and then takes their employer to court and wins on the basis of prior use of a legal substance judged to not impinge on safety? Such a decision will impose new rules upon many industries. These will be rules made by judges and lawyers and not those who know the business. 
 
In the face of our demographic crisis – not enough people – gaining and keeping capable workers on the job is tougher each year. I wonder if it may become increasingly difficult where use of an increasingly legalized substance constitutes a knockout punch to employment. I’d much rather see customers and vendors decide to adjust rather than have the government do it for them. 
 
Perhaps it’s time for a reevaluation of marijuana rules. 
 
As the CEO of a small business whose customers require that we test employees for marijuana use, I’ve no intention of violating the rules. But as I look ahead, I see a looming crisis that can be examined now. 
 
The rules absolutely prohibit alcohol on the job and we severely discipline any employee who shows up under the influence. Yet, those rules don’t require total abstinence of alcohol at any time off the job, on the weekends or over holidays. They do for marijuana. Some ask what’s the difference between a few beers or some marijuana on the weekend. Both are can be legally obtained  in thirty states. Both are largely socially acceptable. Both can be consumed off the job and given appropriate recovery time. Users of either can be alert, safe and ready to work. 
 
Rules changes, policy adjustments and procedural adjustments in any industry take time. They don’t happen overnight. They require consideration and time to change. If we don’t start now, as an industry and as an economy, the wave of legalization may overtake us all.

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