Marijuana Legal?

Posted October 10th, 2010 (8:53 am) || Comments Off

On the ballet this year in California is Proposition 19, which would enable persons age 21 older to legally possess, consume and even grow marijuana. As I’m not a resident of California, I have no say in the matter and will not be significantly influenced either way if the proposition passes or fails. I have some thoughts on the matter though.

I’m no expert on the substance, but I understand it has a number of short-term physical and neurological effects, some of which may interfere with any number of physical and cognitive tasks, just as driving or taking a math test. How much interference I’m not sure of, but having been near enough to some friends who’ve been under the influence I can easily say I’d rather not be in the road while someone driving high, and know not to expect such a person to finish that test on time (at least not without a lot of guessing to save time). What I’d like to do is discuss how, if legalized, users under the influence of marijuana may be treated.

My first concerns involve the workplace. With marijuana illegal, having traces of it how up on a drug test would be immediate grounds for termination from any employer which uses drug screening. As a legal substance, its presence would have to be ignored. Like alcohol, there would have to be indicators an employee is under the influence while on the job. I know some tests may indicate how recently marijuana was consumed, but I’m worried it would be impossible to distinguish between people using it responsibly away from work, medicinally, or at work in violation of company policy.

I have similar concerns for law enforcement, whose tests performed in the field are far less accurate than a full lab test.

I suppose these issues are matters for the employers to figure out, but it leaves a lot of room for error. I’d also rather not smell pot at work.

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