Medical cannabis was legalised in the UK in 2018. However, understanding your rights when it comes to consuming cannabis at work can be a tricky task, not helped by the stigma still surrounding the treatment.
Currently, there are no clear rules in place for employers when it comes to their employees consuming cannabis at the work place. Therefore, it’s usually going to depend on the type of job you do and your employer’s discretion.
Speak to your employer
If you think consuming medical cannabis at work would be of benefit to you, the first thing to do would be to speak to your employer.
You don’t have to tell them why you are using medical cannabis, but informing them that you are doing so is a good idea. So long as you have a prescription and are legally accessing your medicine, it shouldn’t be a problem for them.
As with any other type of medication, you should be able to discuss your requirements with your workplace. And they should do all they can to accommodate your needs.
However, it will depend on the type of work you do. For example, if you drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery, there could be implications surrounding the use of cannabis.
What about a drug test?
In short, employees don’t necessarily have to take a drug test.
But refusing to do so could land you in a spot of bother in the form of disciplinary action.
Again, this comes down to the nature of your work. If you have to drive or undertake clinical work, your employer may require you to take a drug test.
Remember, while it’s wise to tell your employer about your medical cannabis use, you also don’t have to disclose why you are using it.
What your employer truly wants to understand is that your ability to carry out tasks in the workplace remains unaffected by your use of medicinal cannabis.
In the UK, there has been an extremely low number of cannabis prescriptions handed out to patients on the NHS. Patients with private prescriptions probably sits around 20,000.
Nearly four years into legal medical cannabis in the UK, the industry is still in its early stages. Therefore, as it continues to grow, new situations will arise and new regulations will be bought in for them.
Over time, the confusion surrounding the consumption of medical cannabis in the workplace may become clearer and more normalised.
Unfortunately, due to longstanding stigma around cannabis use, if you mention to your boss that you consume cannabis, the first thing they picture in their mind is you smoking a joint during breaks.
So, the most important thing for you to do if you have a medical cannabis prescription is to be open and honest about your cannabis consumption and explain to them how medical cannabis has been legal in the UK since 2018.
While we wait for new guidelines on the issue of at-work consumption, for now you should be squeaky clean with your employers and not hide the fact that you consume medicinal cannabis in order to eliminate any confusion or problems.
Depending on your duties and the feasibility of consuming cannabis at work, you and your employer can then attempt to make plans to accommodate your medical needs.
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