Years ago, I visited one of my customers and they were hosting a huge job fair. I remarked, “Business must be booming!” The Plant Manager explained that business was indeed up 10 percent that year but that was just a small part of the reason for the job fair. The main reason was that they had just conducted a random drug test on all employees. Employees were given the option to resign if they declined the drug test and were terminated if they failed the test. Roughly a third of the plant’s entire workforce was gone at the end of that day!

But now we have legal marijuana. Medical marijuana is now legal in 33 states and recreational marijuana is legal in 10 of those states.

So, how do you feel about marijuana on the factory floor? According to Best’s Review, an insurance magazine, Americans spent more money on legal marijuana in the year 2017 than they spent on coffee – $8.1 Billion vs. $5.1 Billion. That was 2 years ago and yes that figure was for legal marijuana.

So, if you are Operations Manager at a window and door factory where your associates are operating saws, welders, corner cleaners, routers, glass cutters, extruders, oven presses, and forklifts all day in a hot and noisy environment, how do you feel and how do you deal with legal marijuana? Do you now allow a positive test for THC to show up on an employee’s drug screening test given the fact that the employee has a medical marijuana card or if recreational marijuana is legal in your state? I know of one window company who has already removed marijuana as grounds for dismissal in a state where recreational marijuana was not yet legal. The reason? “It was either take it off the banned drug list or live with an unbearable turnover rate due to failed drug tests,” stated the owner of the company.

So, if marijuana is or becomes legal in your state and one of your production workers gets into an accident or worse yet injures coworkers and is found to have THC in their system, how do you prove impairment? He or she could have smoked a bowl the evening before or even weeks before this incident and THC will still show up in their blood test. According to the Insurance Journal, there currently is no equivalent to the “breathalyzer” test when it comes to proving on site impairment due to smoking or ingesting marijuana. In fact, the whole insurance industry is currently struggling with how to go about offering liability insurance to businesses and events where marijuana usage is taking place.

As you know, Canada has recently legalized marijuana across the country, and the USA seems headed in a similar direction. Even with the growing list of states moving to legalize it in the USA, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I narcotic at the Federal level, which means it is not yet decriminalized at the Federal level. This further complicates matters, especially when it comes to both legal matters as well as underwriting of commercial liability policies. Even if your state laws now permit the medical or recreational use of marijuana, the Federal government technically still disallows it. Moreover, your options for obtaining commercial liability coverage related to permitted onsite usage are currently extremely limited.

So, how does that new automated production line look now? It keeps looking better and better, right?

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