Stay off the grass, greens

The Greens are pushing for the government to legalise marijuana, which implies that it is relatively safe for recreational escapism.  Quote.

The government is currently debating whether to hold the referendum in 2019 because it’s not sure holding it at the 2020 General Election would be a smart move politically.

The referendum on legalising marijuana was part of the confidence and supply deal struck between Labour and the Greens – although Winston Peters’ [sic] backs one too.” End of quote.

Canada has legalised marijuana and examined the health and safety issues around it. They say no changes are needed to existing health and safety policies because it is still the employee’s responsibility to ensure they are not impaired when they turn up for work.  Quote. 

Employers, especially those engaging in operations with health and safety concerns, are legitimately concerned. Is an overhaul of their practices and policies required given the legalization of marijuana? In a word … No.

Workers do not have the right to be impaired at work. And workers do not have an absolute right to consume marijuana at work. This has already been decided and was again addressed this year by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal in Aitchison v. L&L Painting and Decorating Ltd., 2018 HRTO 238.” End of quote.

Putting the legality issue aside, have the Canadians really thought through the practical implications of endorsing marijuana?

The argument that alcohol is just as bad, but is legal, is the prevalent one but this argument is simply not valid because alcohol metabolises very quickly in the body and marijuana does not.  Quote. 

Once alcohol has entered your bloodstream, your body will begin to metabolize it at a rate of 20 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) per hour. That means that if your blood alcohol level were 40 mg/dL, it would take about two hours to metabolize the alcohol.” End of quote.

Not very long at all to recover from the effects of alcohol, but cannabis takes much, much longer Quote.

Marijuana, also known as cannabis or weed, is usually detectable in bodily fluids for 1 to 30 days after last use. As with other drugs, it may be detectable in hair for several months.

Marijuana detection windows depend on how much you smoke or ingest, as well as how often. In general, higher doses and more frequent use are associated with longer detection times.

For daily users, cannabis may be detectable for several months after last use. The longest-reported detection times are more than 90 days.

Marijuana’s short-term effects start to taper off after three or four hours. When weed is ingested, its effects peak between four and six hours.

Researchers don’t know how long the effects of chronic marijuana use last. Long-term effects can last days, weeks, or months after weed use has ended. Some effects may be permanent.” End of quote.

This rules out cannabis use by heavy machine operators and forestry workers and anyone else subject to random and regular drug testing.  But what about those industries that don’t have regular drug testing?

Will employees using cannabis be aware that the drug remains in their system much longer than alcohol, and will they know if their performance is impaired by it?  Their employer has no way of knowing either.

The law is the last defence against dangerous behaviour.  The law is a guide; it is not a safety net nor a guarantee that workplace incidents will not happen to an employee whose judgement is impaired by cannabis.

If anything, legalizing cannabis endorses its use and surely it wouldn’t be long before numpkins assume they can indulge and are free from its influence several hours later.  Then we really could see an increase in health and safety incidents.

Stay off the grass Greens, marijuana stays in the system much longer than you think.


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