OTTAWA — The time is now to make a plan.
Allison Sharer, trainer and Ohio certified prevention consultant with Working Partners, spoke on the complex issues raised for employers by the passage of Ohio House Bill 523, the medical marijuana bill, to representatives from Ottawa and Putnam County businesses Thursday. The event was sponsored by the Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Board of Putnam County.
“The message is you need to be prepared before September 8,” Sharer said. “There are many questions that need to be answered before then.”
She encouraged people to decide now if they would allow employees to use medical marijuana while employed. The company’s attorney should be consulted while employers look into other areas, like insurance policy issues. If companies don’t know those details and allow an employee to use medical marijuana for treatment they could find themselves looking for a new policy, she said.
Sharer said employers should also investigate what regulations professional licenses and credentials might have for drug use. Employers should also consider public perception if the company allows its employees to use.
Sharer also said employers need to educate themselves on the current facts about marijuana.
“Some people are going to be making decisions about the drug based on their knowledge about the drug from the ‘70s,” she said.
Modern marijuana is more potent then it was in the 1970s, which raises a lot of health and safety concerns, she said. It’s also still a Schedule 1 illegal substance in the eyes of the federal government, she said.
“We’re in the midst of trying to change our relationship with our culture’s most widely used illicit drug,” Sharer said.
She said marijuana represents 45 percent of positive drug test results. It’s so widely used employers have difficulty finding potential employees to hire because of the frequency of positive test results, she said.
For details, contact the Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Board of Putnam County at www.pcadamhsbd.org or 419-523-0027.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362