As Cannabis Legalization Spreads, Companies Are Reconsidering Drug Policies

The legalization of recreational marijuana use in as many as 38 states and the District of Columbia has, as expected, touched off a flood of investment and job creation—but it has also prompted a number of companies to take a second look at their drug policies.

The cannabis industry has been growing at a rapid rate over the last couple years. The passage of pro-cannabis legislation has been met with a number of companies getting on board with this new market. With the current rapid growth in the industry, one question that is being asked is, “How can we maximize profits by becoming a part of this market?” Some companies have taken a more proactive approach by looking into cannabis as a potential business opportunity.

As the legalization of cannabis spreads across the Western world, companies are reconsidering their drug policies. This has allowed them to adopt a model that has long proved successful in the U.S., while also leading to important research, new revenue streams, and greater workplace satisfaction.



The United States’ more permissive attitude on cannabis use is beginning to influence employment rules. For decades, cannabis was illegal under federal and state law, which was reflected in employment rules throughout the nation. The majority of companies maintained a zero-tolerance attitude on cannabis, with some even demanding frequent drug testing and terminating workers who failed. Companies are beginning to rethink their drug policies as cannabis liberalization sweeps the country.

This became more apparent when Amazon, the world’s biggest e-commerce company with 1.3 million workers, declared that it would no longer screen job applicants for marijuana. In the wake of increasing cannabis legalization, many companies have revised their drug policies, but Amazon’s statement demonstrated that the cannabis reform movement was gaining momentum. However, Todd Maisch, president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, argues that although many businesses are changing their minds about cannabis, there are still plenty that aren’t.

He believes that no company wants its workers to be impaired while on the job, but that the days of random drug testing are coming to an end for many of them. It ultimately depends on the kind of company, with some allowing for a great deal of flexibility in their drug policy and others being reluctant or unable to do so. Businesses in the construction industry, for example, must maintain a drug-free policy to keep their workers safe while on the job and to minimize their liability in the event of a workplace accident involving an impaired employee.

Additionally, organizations and people with federal government contracts are obliged to avoid all narcotics, including those that are lawful in their home states, since drug usage is illegal under federal law. As a result, according to Maisch, there have been two approaches to the development of workplace rules surrounding cannabis use, with some businesses adjusting to the changing times and others digging in their heels and sticking to federal cannabis legislation. Fortunately for proponents of cannabis legalization, recent events have changed how employers see cannabis.

The epidemic had a significant impact on the employment economy, causing many businesses to slow down in the aftermath of lockdown orders and encouraging people to work from home. People began questioning the employment market and demanding fair pay and benefits more than a year after the coronavirus hit and as the globe began to open up. This has resulted in a labor scarcity unlike anything we’ve ever seen, with businesses rushing to find workers ready to join their ranks.

Thus, employers across the country are ready to loosen their workplace policies, especially regarding off-duty cannabis use, Maisch says. This easing of restrictions is likely to open up even more the clientele for cannabis products made by companies such as Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. (CSE: RWB) (OTCQX: RWBYF) since more people will be willing to consider cannabis usage during their off-duty hours.

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