I had the pleasure of sitting down with Remi Roy of Tweed, one of Canada's largest licensed producers, in May 2016 at the Lift Expo.
Yesterday the Federal Government announced changes to the current regulations on medical marijuana in Canada.
This was in response to the R. v. Allard decision on February 24, 2016 when the Federal Court of Canada ruled in favour of patients having the right to grow their own cannabis.
We have seen a number of landmark cases that have laid the groundwork for patient access in Canada, including Parker, Allard, and Smith. It has been established that it is an individual’s constitutional right to access cannabis for medical purposes.
However, there are a number of restrictions created by the employment relationship that threaten this access. The workplace is rife with discrimination and often forces employees to make a choice between their income and their medicine.
We recently looked at the case of Brendan Uprichard, who was fired after failing to tell his employer he was a medical cannabis user. That case highlighted the requirement of employees who hold a safety-sensitive role to disclose their cannabis use. However, it also highlighted a number of the flaws with the disclosure process.
Preferably, we would have a system where employees could be upfront with employers about their medical cannabis prescription even during the hiring process. Employees would disclose use and an assessment would be made if accommodation were needed or not.
It's important to disclose your medical marijuana use, rather than try to conceal it. To find out why, we need look no further than the ultimately failed grievance launched by the Newfoundland International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers, Local Union 1620 on behalf of their employee, Brendon Uprichard.
The use of medical cannabis by patients who are employed and actively working raises the issue of impairment in the workplace. The employer has the right to expect all employees to be fit for duty although the discussion around impairment is most critical when a safety sensitive position is in play.
In Canada, the employer also has the duty to accommodate medical cannabis patients. This requires the employer to evaluate if an employee is in fact impaired from their prescription drug use.
We lack a clear definition of impairment resulting from cannabis, which only further complicates this issue. This makes the partnership between the physician, employee-patient and employer very important.
Cannabis legalization challenges a lot of the norms we have held to be true. It has been considered an illegal drug for decades and hasn't been allowed in the workplace.
There has been a lot of talk about cannabis in the news over the past two weeks.
A Big Announcement
Did you hear about the Federal government's cannabis legalization announcement on 4/20? Exciting times. You can read about it here.
Where We're Featured
We've had a great week and hope you have too.
Medical cannabis use is on the rise. As more people look to cannabis as an alternative medical treatment, we see an impact on other parts of patient’s lives, like work.
Edmonton, AB - Women Grow, a national professional network supporting female leaders and entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry, is launching an Edmonton chapter in May 2016.