Cannabis Legalization and Risks to the Workplace

Cannabis Legalization and Risks to the Workplace

I attended a conference last week on the legalization of cannabis in the state of New Jersey. Apparently, we are going to be the 31st state to legalize recreational use.

The conference was interesting hearing fun terms like “The Green Rush”, I went with the intent to meet business owners that will have new challenges. There are going to be all kinds of owners with new challenges from farmers, to marketing and packaging companies, to distributors and grow lighting companies. There are going to be great challenges like what to do with all the cash, how to get started and how to protect oneself in general.

Then I started thinking about lawyers and all the employee manuals that are now going to need to be updated…but then I go a little deeper into my thought.


The difference between drugs and alcohol, unfortunately, is that drugs stay in your system much longer. A person can get drunk on a Saturday, get arrested for who knows what, get in fights and be a general jerk showing up to work on Monday, tested Wednesday and it’s all fine. Alternatively, one can smoke a little pot on a Saturday night at a campfire or concert, and for the next 30 days the test will show up dirty.

You the business owner may say, “Who cares, it’s legal now. I am changing my employee manual and it’s ok if my employees smoke a little pot, who’s it hurting and may even help morale.”


Now I don’t know if this is accurate, but it makes sense. You know when it snows and if you are a school teacher, parent or student you are very interested in knowing if there is going to be a school closing, delayed opening or regular schedule due to the snow. You would think that this is determined by a school official of some type. I am guessing that it’s not. I am guessing that it’s the school bus company’s insurance executive making the decision. Or someone who is backing the risk.

So same thing with your company. If you own a factory, trucking company or country club and figure it’s ok that your employees smoke a little pot as it’s legal now so let’s update the employee manual and stop testing for pot. Is it ok if your country club lifeguard or factory forklift driver or truck driver has an issue and someone gets hurt? What if the employee now tests dirty from a weekend festival three weeks ago? You, me and the accused think it would be ridiculous, but the victim and more importantly the insurance company who wants to get out of paying won’t, and the owner is now with the huge problem.

There will also be issues of discrimination with hire and firings in terms of people who smoke pot or not. Personally, I am in favor of legalizing all drugs, wet or dry, tax it and make sure that it’s safe, but I am not your insurance company and they may get the final vote and rightfully so as it’s their risk.

If you enjoy discussing topics like this and want to grow your business On The Bus might be a good fit for you and you for us? We have a community for business owners offering monthly board meetings where challenges and opportunities like this get discussed. Feedback is shared and commitments are made and we will hold you accountable to do what you said, by the next months meeting. In between meetings we offer one to one coaching with your paid facilitator, sales training twice a month and a monthly Lunch & Learn plus other great events. Our owners thrive and over 30 of our owners have sold their businesses successfully in the last 5 years, you can see some of them here, There is really no one out there who does what we do as well as we do it.

If you would like to learn more and discuss you and your business please scheduling time to sit down with me using this link

What’s the downside, an uncomfortable hour discussing you and your business honestly and all the things that you aren’t getting done? What’s the upside,  being part of a life-changing community of successful business owners and getting the things done you want to do?


Chris Lipper

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