By Phil La Duke
Author, Influencer, Global Business Consultant
Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business
Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence
While many 46 US States have legalized marijuana for medical and even recreational use, there are many misconceptions among cannabis users about their rights and their employers’ right to put restrictions on the use—both on an off the job—drug. Here are some things that you should know before consuming the drug:
- It’s still against the law. While the States may legalize the drug the Federal Government still classifies it as a Schedule 1 drug—the same category it places heroin and cocaine. Schedule 1 classification is reserved for drugs that are the most dangerous and are not generally viewed as having any medicinal purpose. You may disagree with this, but you still can be prosecuted under federal statutes. As unlikely as that may seem something as simple as crossing state lines with a Schedule 1 drug can be a BIG Federal offense even if cannabis is legal in both states. If you are convicted of a criminal offense you will likely get fired. You may also get fired if your company does business with the government, defense contractors, or customers that forbid its vendors from employing drug users (and there are likely more companies that do than you may realize).
- There’s a lot more in pot than (THC). According to Missy Wilkenson the author of the article What Are the Chemicals In Weed And What They Do published in Thrillist magazine there are 500 chemicals in cannabis, but what she fails to mention is that the rest of these chemicals haven’t been widely studied or and the long term effects of regular ingestion of these chemicals isn’t known. Companies can ban the use of cannabis for safety reasons and if they DO fire you, your legal remedy (assuming you claim discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) falls under Federal jurisdiction and is likely to fail for obvious reasons.
- If you grow it the money you make is taxable. A fair amount of people know that when the government couldn’t nail Al Capone for his daily criminal acts they went after him for tax evasion. Many people believe Al Capone was an idiot for not paying his taxes, but up until his conviction the general consensus among tax attorneys was that illegal income isn’t taxable; it turns out it is and if you don’t declare your cannabis income on your Federal tax filings you could end up like Al Capone. This may not seem to be directly linked to your workplace, but while many companies have work from home provisions scarce few have “work from a federal penitentiary” program.
- Your employer or your customers may still prohibit you from having pot in your system. Even if you have a prescription there are some industries that can and do ban marijuana use even when off work. Certainly, the Federal Government takes a dim view of illicit drug use (remember as far as Federal Law goes you might as well be smoking crack cocaine) but there are other industries that still ban the drug including Oil & Gas companies, some mining companies, and most defense contractors. If you are required to submit to random drug tests you likely are not allowed to use cannabis without risking your job. I have heard many people squawk about their employers impinging on their rights but if your company can tell you what to wear, they can most certainly tell you that you can’t get high and since THC remains in your system long after the high subsides you don’t have much hope of beating the drug tests.
- Driving while under the influence is still illegal. Whether your municipality calls it driving while impaired or driving under the influence of a narcotic if you are stoned (or even buzzed) you could find yourself facing criminal charges. If you are convicted and your job requires you to drive in the course of your duties, you can be legally and justly fired for such an infraction. And, depending on the circumstances, if you are unfortunate enough to be driving and involved in a fatal car crash when driving while high you could be found criminally negligent or guilty of depraved indifference and may even go to prison. But even if driving while high on cannabis was legal, it slows your reaction time, impairs your judgment, and in general makes you a safety risk and a menace to the people with whom you share the road.
Okay, the new book, Lone Gunman Rewriting Workplace Prevention has been out since January, and it’s time to pick up a copy. I haven’t been pushing it all that hard because owing to a printer’s error it was full of typos that, for once, weren’t mine. Since then every half-wit and snake oil salesmen have pulled together dangerously poor presentations on how to survive workplace violence. I have attended too many professional development sessions on surviving workplace violence presented by dolts who sound like they are doing a C– fourth-grade book report. If you are a woman, love a woman, were born of a woman, or have wives, sisters, daughters, or mothers who work you should read this book. Or if you are a boss who managed unstable workers you need this book. Buy an extra copy for your boss. You’ll thank me.
And guess what? My original (in all senses of that word) book I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Business: An Iconclast’s View of Worker Safety continues to sell well, buy one or better yet two. It is directly related to your job duties so expense them both and give one to your boss. It will him/her good to hear some unvarnished truth. And at $15 bucks you can’t beat the price. I wanted to do something special, as it is quickly on it’s way to officially being a best seller, so in cooperation with Amazon, I am launching a promotion. See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: I Know My Shoes Are Untied: Mind Your Own Business!. https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/23bf5d1017cdead1 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Apr 17, 2019 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.