Accommodation after legalization

Legalization of cannabis hasn’t changed employers’ duty to accommodate medical version of the drug
By Seth Holland
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 01/23/2019

It’s now a few months into the era of legal cannabis in Canada. It’s still too early in the game to see what some of the effects might be – including for employers concerned with both employee impairment and use of medical marijuana. However, employees who do have prescriptions for the drug due to a disability should be accommodated, regardless of its legalization for recreational use.

The legalization of recreational cannabis this past October raised major alarm bells for some Canadian employers. More than a few CEOs and HR managers were concerned that legal pot would dramatically spike risk exposures and leave their organizations stumbling through a treacherous minefield of legal and organizational challenges ranging from workplace safety exposures to potential declines in productivity. 

While the sample size is undoubtedly small, there has been no indication that the legalization of recreational cannabis has created major issues for employers. While many employers are still working to amend their workplace policies and procedures to adjust to this new era of legalization, it’s largely been business as usual for most organizations as it pertains to the use of recreational cannabis.