Nearly 10 Percent of Americans Go to Work High, Study Finds
Showing up to work high? You're not alone.
A new report has found nearly 1 in 10 Americans are showing up to work high on marijuana. Mashable.com conducted the survey in partnership with SurveyMonkey, and found 9.7 percent of Americans fessed up to smoking cannabis before showing up to the office.
The data analyzed the marijuana and prescription drug habits of 534 Americans. What's more, nearly 81 percent said they scored their cannabis illegally, according to the survey.
Cannabis and the workplace seem quite linked lately. Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel recently chimed in on marijuana and work. While criticizing Twitter during an appearance on CNBC Wednesday, Thiel said Twitter is a "… horribly mismanaged company—probably a lot of pot smoking going on there."
Blurred lines for employers
According to separate data from Employers, a small-business insurance company, 10 percent of small businesses reported that employees showed up in 2013 under the influence of at least one controlled substance, with marijuana coming in at 5.1 percent.
Marijuana sales overall are taking off as recreational use of cannabis is legal in Colorado and Washington state, and pot can be purchased for medicinal use in 23 states and Washington, D.C.
So what's an employer to do?
Companies have different strategies and opinions on testing. But the vast majority of U.S. employers aren't required to test for drugs. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, many state and local governments have statutes that "limit or prohibit workplace testing, unless required by state or Federal regulations for certain jobs."
Private employers, for the most part, can test for a wide variety of substances, according to the Labor Department.
Smaller businesses, meanwhile, with limited resources to test employees are in the early stages of figuring out next steps. Even in places like Colorado where recreational cannabis use is legal, employers are trying to strike a balance between respecting the law and establishing clear workplace rules.
Christopher Myers, co-founder of BodeTree, a 15-employee start-up based in Denver, says he has yet to create a policy strictly for marijuana use in the workplace.
As an online service that helps small businesses manage and understand their finances, BodeTree has to comply with financial institutions' policies for protecting client data. Myers said there's a zero tolerance policy when it comes to substance use on the job.
"It's an interesting balance, because we need a policy that is compliant with federal and state law," he said. "And we are respectful of those laws. But we don't want someone showing up to work drunk, on Vicodin or high on marijuana."
For now, Myers isn't performing spot testing for marijuana consumption on employees.
"The testing technology in Denver will detect if you have been using marijuana in the past 30 days," he said. "From a policy point of view, no one knows how to handle it."
More drug testing?
Curtis Graves, staff attorney at Mountain States Employers Council in Colorado, says there has been somewhat of a spike in employer drug testing since pot was legalized in 2013, but this is a nationwide trend.
"In Colorado, there was interest in having new drug policies, and adding language to existing policies so that workers know regardless of legalization, they can't use on or off duty at work," Graves said.
If workers test positive in Colorado, while on duty at work, they can be terminated for cause, Graves said.
For now, Myers of BodeTree says he hasn't had any issues with on-site marijuana usage, and hasn't decided yet if he will be changing his policy.
"We are keenly observing the landscape right now—it will be an interesting couple of years across the country, if you look state-by-state, the momentum is toward legalization right now. It's inevitable, so just like with any human resources issue or company policy, it's never cut and dry," Myers says. "It will take employers time to figure out the right path."
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