In March 2020, our world was turned upside down as the COVID-19 pandemic forced a large number of Canadians to work from home for the unforeseeable future. People were made to isolate themselves from family and friends, cancel important life events and just wait to see how everything would unfold. According to a study conducted by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) about one in five Canadians have reported high levels of mental distress during this time of isolation. In their research they also noted that there has been an increase in the quantity and frequency of people consuming alcohol and cannabis.
52% of those who had consumed cannabis said that they were consuming it more than they were before the pandemic. – CAMH
As more Canadians receive their second dose of the vaccine, businesses and organizations are putting together plans to return to the office. Just as quickly as people were forced to work from home, we are facing the reality of returning to the new normal.
Cannabis in the workplace has been a hot topic since it was legalized in Canada for recreational use in October 2018. Now, more than ever it’s important to ensure your workplace policy is up to date to include cannabis. By doing so you are setting expectations for your employees to promote a safe and inclusive workplace.
For police officers and security professionals in particular, cannabis education in the workplace is essential and should be treated no differently than any other regular training they undergo. With these roles comes a big responsibility to serve and protect without bias, however, lack of cannabis education can create blindsides and personal stigma that will be unjustified.
Educate on facts, not stigma
Unfortunately, there is still stigma associated with cannabis and this all stems from a lack of cannabis education. For years, cannabis consumers have been referred to as “stoners” and “burnouts.” In contrast, as a society we celebrate a long day with an after-work cocktail. Why should cannabis be any different? This stigma comes from a lack of exposure and understanding as to why people choose to consume cannabis. In addition, there are over 300,000 registered medical cannabis patients in Canada and the numbers will continue to grow as more people realize the benefits of the plant. Rather than fear the unknown, individuals should challenge themselves to become educated on the benefits of the cannabis plant and how it continues to help so many people with various ailments. Even if they themselves don’t make the decision to partake.
According to a 2019 survey conducted by the Government of Canada on cannabis, 14% of all respondents said they use cannabis for medical purposes.
Cannabis laws differ by region
Did you know that cannabis laws differ by region? Keeping track of federal, provincial and municipal laws can be challenging but is so important for police officers and security professionals to have access to updated and easily accessible information.
To learn more about regional cannabis laws visit canniknow.com.
Provide employees with actionable solutions
Updating your company policy to include cannabis is important, but how you communicate the updates is even more crucial. Emails and policy files on the intranets can easily get lost. The best practice is to schedule an internal meeting to review the changes together or provide mandatory e-learning. Adding cannabis in workplace training to your annual health and safety curriculum ensures a safe and inclusive work environment. As most corporate training has moved online, by offering an online course on cannabis in the workplace you can ensure all of your employees are trained and have understood your workplace’s specific substance management policy.