It’s unclear how scientific or thorough the cannabis survey was, but it does indicate at least anecdotally how pervasive cannabis is in the workplace, However, as experts have warned, even if cannabis decriminalized completely, zero-tolerance employers will have the right to dismiss people who go against company policy
IO's Business Report reports that an anonymous survey of cannabis users found that 36,7% of respondents said they had consumed weed in the workplace or while working.
The online survey canvassed users across South Africa. It’s unclear how many people actually participated.
IOL reports that other notable survey results show
76.7% of respondents claim to experience positive health benefits from using cannabis,
63.3% say their cannabis consumption has increased since legalisation changed in 2018, and
93.3% believe legalisation is of significant benefit to the South African economy.
These findings pose serious questions and possible concerns to companies and how organisations deal with cannabis in the workplace.
“It’s always fascinating to see how people’s attitude towards cannabis is evolving year on year as legislation opens up,” says Silas Howarth, director of the Johannesburg Cannabis Expo which ran from 18 – 24 November 2022 at the Sandton Convention Centre.
“Important discussions around cannabis use in the workplace are being held and it will be interesting to see the options that organisations have to mitigate risks. We find that most cannabis users find positive health and other benefits from cannabis, and in many cases even say that it improves their productivity.”
However, the CEO of breathalyzer products ALCO Safe, Rhys Evans says companies have the right to decide whether they tolerate substances, and he's gone so far as to argue for compulsory THC and other drug tests as part of the recruiting and onboarding process. He also thinks the police should carry out compulsory roadside drug tests to check whether drivers have been consuming cannabis.
Tasso Anastides and Kathleen Butler, of the law firm Eversheds Sutherland says employees’ rights outside of work don’t offer protection against companies with a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to cannabis. This may, however, change as cases are taken on appeal.
However corporates feel about cannabis use in their workforce while on the job, in this rapidly-changing permissive environment and with so many different ways to consume cannabis, companies and employers may struggle to accurately test and prohibit workplace cannabis use.