This is a question we received at the Spokane Ask Me Anything sponsored by the National Association of Women Business Owners held June 12, 2014.

Pot

Pot is legal

SpokaneAMA:  Now that pot is legal, what boundaries can I ensure are being respected?

At least in the states of Washington and Colorado, it is now legal to possess and use marijuana. What does that mean for the workplace? The short answer is what’s your workplace policy for alcohol? Both alcohol and pot can impair cognitive abilities. If you don’t allow the consumption of alcohol or being drunk on the job, then you can probably do the same for pot.

Now for the longer answer. It depends. What is your reasoning for controlling the use of pot in the workplace? All workplace policies should reflect a concern for health, safety, and productivity – we don’t want anything bad to happen to our workers and we want them to produce work to meet the mission of the organization. If the use of pot affects either health, safety or productivity, then, as an employer, its use can be treated as a condition of employment just like alcohol or other performance affecting conditions.

I would suggest that any policy you decide to enact be reviewed by competent legal counsel before you issue it to you employees and explain the why when you do. It will help your employees to understand and support your policies.

A physicist by trade, author by choice, a born teacher, a retired veteran, and an adamant problem solver, Frank has helped the White House, federal agencies, military offices, historical museums, manufacturers, and over 250 technology startups get stuff done, communicate effectively, and find practical solutions that work for them. In his spare time, he makes sawdust and watches Godzilla movies.