It can be difficult for patients in Canada to maintain their daily need for cannabis products, especially if their employer possesses a strict workplace impairment policy. So, instead of prohibiting your ability to work, learn the lowdown of how you can exercise your rights to use medicinal cannabis in the workplace.
What are your employee rights and responsibilities?
While employers should be accommodating workers who have been authorized to use medicinal cannabis, just as they would be required to accommodate their employees taking another type of prescribed medication, depending on the type of work, many companies try to instate drug-free policies in the workplace. Although this is understandable for jobs where being under the influence in any way could put the employee or their co-workers at risk, it’s the duty of the person in charge to provide a workplace setting with fewer barriers for those who require cannabis to help treat pain or illness. After all, managing your health at work is an important feat and it’s your right to attend to the needs of your health. We recommend visiting the Canadian Human Rights Commission to learn more about how to answer the questions your employer may have about your medical issues.
Keep your documents and authorizations up-to-date
Depending on your job, some employment contracts may require mandatory or voluntary disclosure of elements of your medical information, especially if it involves safety in the workplace. Whether you’re just telling your boss about your need to use cannabis or you’re starting a brand new job with a company whose policies you may not yet know, it’s important to review your employee documents and openly speak about the business’ procedures.
Keep in mind that wanting to use cannabis in the workplace and need to use it hold two very different meanings and only patients possess patients’ rights, meaning medical authorization will be required to entitle you to accommodation in your workplace.
How do you discuss this with management?
Approaching your employer about cannabis in the workplace can be a daunting task, and if you want to get them to take you seriously as a professional in your field, part of getting their attention is how you approach the situation. We recommend using the words ‘workplace accommodation’ when you are disclosing your need for medication, as cannabis can often be stigmatized. You can even go as far as making a request formally in writing to accommodate your company’s internal process. It’s essential to let your employer know that each person’s diagnosis varies and while you may need to medicate while on the job, various consumption methods are available to you.
Using cannabis in the workplace
It’s crucial to be responsible and courteous of others when you’re using cannabis in the workplace. While normalizing pot is an element you may want to strive to achieve, since workplace accommodation is a two-sided process that involves everyone, choose the ideal strain and consumption method that’s best suited for your work experience. Also, try to have an open dialogue with your boss and co-workers to promote a safe and inclusive space for all.
Have you ever had problems using medicinal cannabis in the workplace?