A friend is having work done on his house, and the electrician and the carpenter were fine, but the tile guy, although very skilled, didn’t keep his appointments, never did exactly what he said he would do, left things half-done, didn’t return phone calls – the sort of things that drive you crazy. Turns out he was a pot smoker.
My friend, who worked in construction for decades, said the nexus of marijuana and contractors has always been a problem. We came up with an idea. Contractors could be certified marijuana-free, and put an emblem on their business cards of a marijuana leaf inside a red circle with a slash through it. Probably get a lot more work.
One of the biggest problems I have with this frantic push to legalize marijuana in California and elsewhere is what it will mean for our workforce.
A RAND expert recently testified about marijuana legalization: “… If use increases, known harms will also increase.” What are those harms? For our workforce, being stoned is a harm because marijuana intoxication is antithetical to productivity.
From the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association:
“… Significant maladaptive behavioral or psychological changes (e.g., impaired motor coordination, euphoria, anxiety, sensation of slowed time, impaired judgment, social withdrawal) develop during, or shortly after, cannabis use.”
And marijuana dependence is an even bigger problem:
“… need for markedly increased amounts… greater use than intended… unsuccessful efforts to cut down… great deal of time spent using… reduction in occupational activities… continued use despite knowing it caused significant problems…”
We don’t want any of that in the workforce. California is trying to become more competitive, more innovative and more productive so that we can regain the global economic ascendancy we once enjoyed. Research on pot smoking and work shows that it causes lower alertness and slower response organization, working memory problems, psychomotor slowing and poorer episodic recall, and these problems get worse at the end of the work week.
Arguments about legalization of marijuana usually revolve around individual freedoms and desires, as do so many arguments in our society. But what would be best for the people of California when it comes to educational attainment, productivity, workmanship, innovation, creativity and competitiveness? More pot smokers? I don’t think so.