Marijuana and the Impact on Workers’ Compensation Claims

The use of marijuana is more prevalent and widely used than ever before. Many states are legalizing the use of marijuana and many citizens are taking advantage of this. As expected, there are some issues that arise with its legalization. One of the main issues concerns workers’ compensation claims. Because it is challenging for businesses to ban a substance if it goes against state law, many companies are struggling to find the right balance between respecting employees’ rights and taking a stand.

Some companies feel that it is a similar situation to alcohol. Drinking is legal for those over the age of 21, but it is a safety and risk management hazard to be intoxicated while at work. The same rules will apply for the use of marijuana. There is the concern of people showing up to work under the influence and during a shift and potentially becoming injured. If the employee files a workers’ compensation claim it can create a lot of controversy because one could argue that they were in no condition to work and the accident was their fault.

To handle this issue, it is critical to take a proactive approach in creating more awareness.  In addition, companies should focus on improving safety requirements, training, and tips around the workplace and also make it very clear to their employees that this is a substance that cannot be used directly before or during work.