Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001, however there have been numerous changes to the laws and a marked increase in the number of Canadians who have registered to purchase medical cannabis. Health Canada data shows that almost 296,702 Canadians were registered to purchase cannabis in March 2017. The number of registered users further grew 32% in the next quarter and has grown to 1,500 times its size since June 2014.
This increase in medical cannabis users and the upcoming legalization of cannabis on October 17th, is posing challenges for employers across the country as they try to manage the impact on their workforce. Most experts feel that cannabis consumption will experience exponential growth once legalization occurs.
Currently, 22% of the Canadian population (age 19 and up) report to using cannabis recreationally. Another 17% of Canadians report that they would experiment with cannabis if it were legal. That’s close to 40% of Canadian adults who report that they will use cannabis come October 17th.
Impact on the Workplace
While adult cannabis use is not a new issue, employers are concerned about how the legalization and subsequent increased use will affect the workplace.