skip to Main Content
Last Word: A Telling Survey About Whether Managers Will Hire Cannabis Users

Here’s something that might have gotten lost in the usual end-of-the-year scramble: Employers are a lot tougher on employees in states where marijuana is completely legal.

We know this because the Society of Human Resource Management — the trade group for more than 260,000 HR professionals — surveyed more than 600 HR managers in states where marijuana is legal, and they focused on the drug policies of the organizations they work for. 

As Bloomberg News reported, “Unsurprisingly, getting stoned at work is largely frowned upon, SHRM found …. It turns out a large chunk of workplaces also won’t hire employees who smoke on their own time.”

The story goes on to say that, “More than half of the HR managers surveyed said they have policies, or plan to implement them, restricting the employment of marijuana users. About 38 percent said they will flat-out reject users even if they claim medical reasons. Six percent said their policy will exclude only those who partake for fun.”

It really comes down to this:

There is what I consider to be a significant number of employers that are saying they wouldn’t hire an employee that uses marijuana,” said Evren Esen, SHRM’s director of survey programs.”

The timing of the release of this survey was unfortunate because it deserved to get a lot more attention than it got by coming out right before the Christmas holidays.

What struck me about research is that it is probably just the first of many surveys that we’ll see indicating that there is little tolerance among employers to hire — or put up with — employees who use cannabis, either for medical or recreational purposes.

But, is anyone really surprised by that?

OK, maybe the medical marijuana part is surprising, but my guess is that an employee who is sick enough to need medical marijuana has probably talked to their employer about what is going on with their health in some depth and may have come to some sort of accommodation with the boss about that.

What didn’t surprise me, however, was the fact that employers don’t want to hire people who are marijuana users any more than they want to hire those who admit to serious consumption of alcohol.

As someone who has hired a great many people over a great many years, I’ve never found a manager who was comfortable hiring someone they knew was a big drinker and consumer of alcohol. They rightly assumed that this would cause a problem for them if this person was working for them.

What bothers me more about the SHRM survey is the notion that employers need to know information like this.

I honestly don’t want to know a whole lot about what people do when they are off work, and once we go down the road where we do care about such things, well, there’s no end to the kind of moralizing that will enter into our workplace hiring decisions.

Although I don’t drink very much personally, I don’t have a problem with people who imbibe more often and with more gusto. The only time it becomes a problem is when they bring the drinking into the workplace in some manner to the point that I need to deal with it as a manager.

The same is true of marijuana use. Who cares how much an employee uses marijuana in their spare time as long as it doesn’t impact their work?

I know, I know; casual use of alcohol or marijuana can spin out of control pretty easily, and I get that. But, the problem I have with factoring off-duty use of such substances into the workforce equation is that it is focus on what people might do on the job rather than what they actually do on the job.

I consider marijuana in the same way I consider alcohol — be careful with it when you’re off, and don’t use it before you come to work.

The SHRM survey makes it clear that too many hiring managers aren’t at that point just yet. As more legalization comes, they will surely need to adjust their thinking.

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in the nation’s capital and four states, including Colorado. In almost 20 others, it’s allowed for medicinal purposes.

 

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Stories

Cannabis in Connecticut: Concerns of a California Transplant

I just moved my family to Connecticut from Los Angeles, where I have lived almost exclusively since 1979. I am a born-and-raised New Yorker and spent a lot of time in Connecticut as a kid and young man, so I’m returning to old haunts, and I have relatives throughout New England and am looking forward…

The Accidental Rise Of Infused Event Marketing

By Pam Chmiel Move over consumption lounges, an elevated cannabis food and drink experience that you only find at Michelin-starred restaurants have arrived. How many cannabis-infused food or drink events have you attended served up by a James Beard award-winning chef or mixologist? While there’s speculation on when and how consumption lounges will roll out,…

As US Hemp Cultivation Levels Plummet The Established European Industry Continues To Flourish

DESPITE a huge decline in US hemp industry’s footprint the European industry will continue to grow, say the continent’s leading experts. Recent figures from the US show hemp cultivation fell to 107,702 acres in 2022, from 511,442 in 2019. However in Europe hemp’s footprint continues to grow – by over 30% between 2018 and 2021…

2024: Adult Use Marijuana in Florida

By Hilary Bricken, Principal at Harris Bricken In 2024, we may finally see adult use marijuana in Florida. This week, Smart & Safe Florida, a non-profit political organization, filed its ballot initiative, “Adult Personal Use of Marijuana“, with the  Division of Elections to legalize adult use marijuana in Florida. Make it Legal Florida already unsuccessfully…

More Categories

Back To Top
×Close search
Search