What do the new Cannabis Laws in SA mean for those at Work?

With the decriminalisation of cannabis for personal and private consumption, what exactly does this mean for South African’s in the workplace? What could the implications be for employees?

cannabis in the workplace

Cannabis Confusion

The judgment made in September 2018 does not acknowledge the implications in the workplace, meaning that there are many unanswered questions from employers. An example being that if an employee decided to use cannabis during a lunch break or before work, how is a situation like this managed?

Weber Wentzel lawyer Shane Johnson explained that while there are tests that measure cannabis levels, they are not readily available across the country.

“A boss can use certain tests, but they’re own risk and that’s the problem employers are grappling with.”

In addition, the court ruling didn’t provide measures or levels of impairment, which would give employers an indication of whether marijuana use may impair an employee’s productivity or become an injury risk. No employer wants an employee who is not functioning fully while in the workplace.

Johnson further explained that marijuana use does not necessarily imply impairment of an employee, as many cannabis consumers can function fully. However, being under any sort of influence while in the workplace is largely frowned upon.

“Cannabis affects people in different ways. For some people, it could enhance their performance, while others it could affect them negatively. The employer needs to be able to show that it has a negative effect on an employee’s job.”

Employers may have to wait for the end of the initial 24 month period before they will be able to obtain further information on matters such as these.

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