Recreational marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2018, but there is still much confusion when it comes to employment law and cannabis. If you have been wondering whether it’s ok to use marijuana when working at a warehouse, here are some things you should know.
Can You Use Marijuana During Your Shift?
As a general rule, even individuals with medical prescriptions for marijuana can be prohibited from coming to work impaired. Recreational cannabis is treated like any other controlled substance, such as alcohol, so follow the same rules you would follow for drinking and no not come to work under the influence or use THC while you are on the clock.
Can Your Employer Dictate Cannabis Use On Personal Time?
Typically, Canadian employers cannot dictate what an employee does in their free time. However, things get complicated when those off-hours activities have a connection to the workplace and whether a person is impaired when they are coming to work.
For example, many airlines prohibit pilots from using marijuana even in their off hours. This is because there has been so little research on THC impairment and how long it impacts cognitive abilities. Thus far there have been no legal challenges to these types of restrictions when jobs involve public safety or the safety of coworkers. Because warehouse work can be hazardous, employers may have restrictions in place. Always check your company policy when it comes to consuming cannabis in your personal time.
What If You Have A Medical Marijuana Prescription?
Holding a medical prescription for marijuana does not provide a free pass to be impaired at work. Employers do have a duty to accommodate under federal and provincial law for any employee who has a disease, injury or disability, including substance dependence and medical authorizations to use cannabis for medical purposes. However, that duty to accommodate does not necessarily mean marijuana can be taken while at work. Accommodation may also mean your job could change if the employer feels your status could put the safety of others at risk.
If you have a prescription, talk to your HR department about your options and if you feel you are not being accommodated in accordance with the law, seek the advice of a lawyer.