Can business handle a ‘stoned nation’?

Over the last decade or so, one of the most commonly discussed elements of US and global policy has been that of how marijuana and cannabis is seen.

The 21st century has seen an increasingly more liberal, open-minded approach to using cannabis become commonplace, which to many is a good thing. However, many business leaders are a little unnerved by the idea of widespread cannabis usage for fear of what it will do to their business.

A business has to be able to accept that, within the realms of legality, stuff should be open to do whatever they wish. An uptake in people smoking marijuana, though, has many business leaders fretting about productivity, motivation and general mood. With so many stereotypes sold about marijuana across the board, are business leaders right to be worried about dipping productivity in a ‘stoned nation’?

In one, not really.

 Discrimination & Best Use Practice

The first major problem is one of a discriminatory measure. If a business does not have a strict no-drugs policy in place, then enacting one as one of the most commonly used recreational drugs in the world becomes more commonplace opens up all manner of issues to do with legality, discrimination and such.

However, if you are getting hot under the collar worrying about any colleagues taking you to court for discrimination, it looks like many businesses treat it in the same way as alcohol. Yes, you can drink legally but if you drink on work hours or turn up to work drunk, well, you’ll be sent home at best.

Marijuana policy in the workplace isn’t going to open up a can of worms for most employers. If there is a strict policy in place about arriving to work in sober mind and judgement, then that isn’t likely to be affected by new rulings to do with legality.



The main challenge stems from the fact that legality is happening so slowly is what rules and regulations stand up tends to be determined by the state. The real challenge is when marijuana usage is physician-allowed. For example, in Canada, it was agreed upon that discipline could be carried out even in the event of medical prescription.

At the moment, it’s an open question about what this means for the workplace but the main fear – productivity dropping, motivation evaporating and absence skyrocketing – is yet to play out. Even in the industry for cannabis growth and dispensary sales, such a drop-off is yet to take place.

The fear that everyone will stop turning up to work or, when they do, they’ll achieve nothing is a stereotypical fallacy. Nothing exists to show the likelihood of this happening outside of stereotypes. Many people who do take part in recreational usage of marijuana live happy, healthy and productive lives.

Really, then, the policy – where allowed – should be the same as it is for anyone who drinks alcohol. Feel free to do so, but do it on your own time and make sure you arrive to work in the right condition.

Other than that? The fears of business leaders about an unproductive ‘stoned nation’ is as half-baked a theory as some employees!