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Canada’s Lessons Learned from Legalizing Cannabis

​Canadian employers have been concerned about workplace safety following the legalization of cannabis for recreational use in October 2018 and the arrival of edible products in the country’s retail market in December 2019.  While Canadians now can legally consume cannabis products, employment and labor lawyers say this does not give employees the right to use the drug at work.

More than a year after legalization, experts reflected that while it has been a smooth transition, challenges remain—especially if an employee shows up to work impaired.

Ryan Anderson, an attorney with Mathews Dinsdale and Clark in Vancouver, British Columbia, urged employers to talk about the need for safety in the workplace. “There are consequences of not meeting safety expectations, especially in safety-sensitive positions,” he said.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety defines a safety-sensitive position as one that, if not performed in a safe manner, can cause direct and significant damage to property and injury to the employee, others in the area, the public and the immediate environment. Safety-sensitive roles are often found in the construction, medical, manufacturing, natural resources, transportation and warehousing industries, among others.

Introduction of Legal Edibles

Edibles are cannabis-infused products, including beverages, chocolates, gummy candies and baked goods.

According to Health Canada, edible cannabis products will have, at most, 10 milligrams of THC, the chemical responsible for most of the drug’s psychoactive effects. [Read More @ SHRM.org]

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