No counterproductive work behaviour
The research study, conducted by a pair of researchers from San Diego State University and Auburn University in Alabama engaged 281 employees and their direct supervisors. The objective was to find out the relationship between marijuana and job performance among employees.
According to the authors’ report, an employee’s cannabis use before or during work hours had “counterproductive work behaviours.” However, “after-work cannabis use was not related (positively or negatively) to any form of performance as rated by the user’s direct supervisor.”
In conclusion, the authors said:
Contrary to commonly held assumptions, not all forms of cannabis consumption harmed performance. In fact, after-work cannabis use did not relate to any of the workplace performance dimensions. This finding casts doubt on some stereotypes of cannabis users and suggests a need for further methodological and theoretical development in the field of substance use.
Workplace policies to adapt
The findings of this study reveal just some of the changes that are taking place in the marijuana industry, even as more people in the US support federal legalization of recreational cannabis use.
Commenting about the outcome of the study, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said:
Suspicionless marijuana testing never has been an evidence-based policy. Rather, these discriminatory practices are a holdover from the zeitgeist of the 1980s ‘war on drugs.’ But times have changed; attitudes have changed. It is time for workplace policies to adapt to this reality.
The researchers acknowledged that regardless of the extensive implementation of workplace drug screening plans, “there is virtually no empirical research exploring cannabis use in relation to the modern workplace.”
The findings of this study agree with those of a recent literature review, which was published in the journal Substance Use and Misuse. The review concluded:
The current body of evidence does not provide sufficient evidence to support the position that cannabis users are at increased risk of occupational injury.
A similar review published in 2017 by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that “There is no or insufficient evidence to support…a statistical association between cannabis consumption and…occupational accidents or injuries.”
Recently, legislators in various municipalities such as Richmond, Virginia, Washington DC, and New York City—ratified laws that limit the use of marijuana-specific pre-employment drug screening. Meanwhile, both Maine and Nevada have put in place state-specific laws bar certain employers from refusing to hire a person only because the person tested positive for cannabis during a pre-employment drug screening.