How Workplaces Threaten Patient Access

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.

The Process For Disclosing Medical Cannabis Use To Employers is Broken

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.

How This Medical Marijuana User Lost His Job - Then Got it Back

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 In The News

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

Cannabis at Work was mentioned in a Vue Weekly article, where Alison speaks about the upcoming Women Grow Edmonton launch event. [Read]

Metro Edmonton followed suit and Alison was on the cover of the April 29 print edition. [Read]

Last but not least, our friends at Lift Cannabis showed some love for Women Grow in their digital news. [Read] 

We've had a great week and hope you have too.