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marijuana at work

Why You Should Be Able To Smoke Pot At Work

Less Sick Days, Higher Productivity New Study Finds

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Friday Sep 9, 2016
  3928 Views  /    5 Lights

Why Legalization Can Be Good For The Workplace

 

 

Gone are the days of the lazy stoner stereotype; the pothead who just can’t seem to get things done because he’s stuck on a couch munching on pizza all day long.

 

 

These days, marijuana users are some of the most successful and wealthy people in the country. Just take a look at the many ganjapreneurs constantly breaking the glass ceiling with ingenious products and inventions. Besides, we already know that certain marijuana strains can even make you more productive and creative.

 

 

However, changing this stereotype isn’t without obstacles. According to the Institute for a Drug-Free Workplace: “Legalizing marijuana is bad for the workplace.”

 

 

The institute also adds, “The impact of employee marijuana use is seen in the workplace in lower productivity, increased workplace accidents and injuries, increased absenteeism, and lower morale.”, adding that it affects business’s bottom line.

 

 

But they’ve just been proven wrong.

 

 

A new study published in the Health Economics journal last July argues otherwise. The research author, Darin F. Ullman, is an economist who wanted to better understand if medical marijuana laws had an impact on employee absenteeism. Ullman recently completed his PhD at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

 

 

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The topic of illegal marijuana has been discussed and researched already in the past, especially concerning the use of marijuana on overall employee productivity in the workplace. One of the most recent and comprehensive studies on this topic is published in the Social Science Network, where the findings state that cannabis use has a very minimal effect on workplace productivity. However it could be problematic if employees are chronic or heavy cannabis users. On the other hand, research on the impact of marijuana legalization on employee productivity is still pretty scarce and this is what prodded Ullman to take a look.

 

 

It could be easy to think that when more people have access to pot, they’re more likely to call in sick because being stoned, sometimes too stoned, just makes them too lazy. Or maybe smoking pot just makes them more inclined to give in and stay home, simply because they don’t feel like going to work.

 

 

But if medical marijuana is effective at what it does - treat employees who are afflicted with conditions that make it too difficult to report to the office and carry out their tasks - then it’s not surprising to see that employee absenteeism could decrease thanks to better access to the plant.

 

 

Ullman analyzed sick-day data from 24 states where marijuana was legal, during the time of his research. The average findings of his study showed that “respondents were 8% less likely to report being absent from work due to health issues after medical marijuana laws” have been passed. On top of that, numbers from the Current Population Survey suggests that states whose laws on medical marijuana are more relaxed had a bigger decrease in employee absenteeism, as compared to sick leaves in stricter states.

 

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We still can’t assume though if medical marijuana legalization caused the decrease in sick leaves but Ullman’s study does show that the decrease in sick leaves lessened AFTER legalization. Many other factors could have also contributed to these changes in the states that were studied, such as the development of employee wellness programs and improved access to healthcare among others.

 

 

Ullman did point out something interesting though:  the effect of marijuana legalization was stronger for men and those who classify as middle-aged workers, demographics which tend to possess medical marijuana cards. When you combine this with relaxed marijuana laws, it could be assumed that the laws actually do play an important role in reducing employee sick leave days such as those found in his data. Ullman also adds that there could be other reasons that contribute to these findings, such as, if employees self-medicate with marijuana and they experience significant relief from otherwise debilitating symptoms then this could contribute to reduced employee absenteeism.

 

 

It’s also interesting to note that other studies show how alcohol consumption was reduced after medical marijuana laws were passed. Copious drinking is a major factor in employee absenteeism so if consuming marijuana prevents people from drinking too much then this also plays an important role in the findings.

 

 

Ullman concludes: “The results of this paper therefore suggest that [medical marijuana laws] would decrease costs for employers as it has reduced self-reported absence from work due to illness/medical issues.”

 

 

What do you think about the findings of Ullman’s study?

 

 

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