Do we really want a stoned workforce?


San Diego:

Coming soon to business cards in California: Certified marijuana-free worker?


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.

This entry was posted in Drug abuse, Marijuana, Marijuana legalization, Medical marijuana, Prevention, Substance abuse and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Do we really want a stoned workforce?

  1. Dan Abrahamson says:

    Gotta say – my most talented, committed and productive employees are pot smokers. Your commentary is incredibly biased and not at all “science-based.” Substitute “black” or “latino” or “polish” for pot smoker and perhaps you’ll begin to sense how baseless and offensive your “observations” are.

  2. jgogek says:

    As a lawyer, you know that people who smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or use drugs are not a protected class. Comparing somebody who smokes marijuana as being the same as an African-American in that regard is incorrect. A lawyer trying to make that case would be laughed out of court. It is not a “right” to use drugs.

  3. Dude says:

    Great idea, let’s make more rules. What you are suggesting is discrimination against anyone who chooses to use a substance, Cannabis, that is safer than the number one “legal” recreational drug, i.e. Alcohol. Why not just let the marketplace settle this , incompetent tradesmen don’t last long these days.
    ALL of your points could and should also apply to Alcohol, IF YOU WANT TO BE HONEST.
    I have used Cannabis for many years, I am now 65 and retired. At the height of my career I was considered one of the best craftsmen in my trade, always had work and raised a family, many of those years I used Cannabis, BUT NOT AT WORK. I , and MOST people realize that Cannabis and serious work do not mix, just as drinking and going to work do not mix. According to your ideas, I would not qualify for employment with any contractor who discriminated against Cannabis users.

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