How to Recognize the Influence of Marijuana

Shawnee Love   •  
February 17, 2018

Marijuana leaf icon, cartoon styleToday, it was announced that the legalization of pot will be delayed in Canada. I personally hope more time means better legislation but at the very least it means more time for employers to get prepared.  Last week’s blog discussed how employers could prepare for the advent of legalization.  This week I am sharing how to recognize impairment due to marijuana should it occur at your work.

Because there isn’t a reliable test to identify whether someone is under the influence of pot (just as most workplaces don’t have breathalyzers for alcohol), the best judgment of the manager or supervisor is put to the test. Similar to how you might recognize alcohol impairment by the scent on someone’s breath, red bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, slower reaction times, and reduced focus or judgment, there are signs of marijuana impairment to look for as well.  Specifically:

  • Red, bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils
  • Marijuana odor
  • Slower movements and response times
  • Relaxed, happy and/or mellow demeanor
  • Increased appetite
  • Reduced concentration
  • Short memory and attention span

The presence of any one of those signs isn’t enough to confirm a person is high, but the presence of all may be indicative of just that.

Let’s not forget though, that certain illnesses and conditions can sometimes manifest symptoms like alcohol or drug impairment.  Thus, if someone is demonstrating signs of impairment of any kind, that is a good reason to pull them aside and inquire. I urge you to know the signs, pay attention to employees’ behaviour, question anything out of the norm and take appropriate action to protect all your employees.

I look forward to sharing more about the legalization and how it will affect workplaces as more information becomes available.  If you have questions or comments, please weigh in.