Cannabis judgment causes trouble in the workplace

Global Publication October 2018

On 18 September 2018 the Constitutional Court ruled that the private cultivation and private consumption of cannabis by consenting adults is not a criminal offence and directed Parliament to amend the relevant legislation within 24 months. Many employers have subsequently found that this judgment has resulted in an increase of incidents of possession and use of cannabis in the workplace. 

Whilst Parliament may take another two years to regulate the private use of cannabis, employers can act if necessary to avoid occupational health and safety concerns. Action that can be taken includes:

  • Training both management and employees on the impact of this judgment on the workplace, particularly what constitutes private use and whether an employee has any expectation of privacy in the workplace.
  • Updating employment policies in respect of the cultivation, sale, possession, use of and being under the influence of cannabis.
  • Considering practical means of testing employees, particularly operators and drivers, where there is a concern that an employee is under the influence of cannabis in contravention of employment policies.

Contact our Employment and Labour Team if you need any help to manage the effect of this judgment on your workplace.

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