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Thread: Private use of cannabis decriminalised - Consequence for employers

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Private use of cannabis decriminalised - Consequence for employers

    The use of cannabis may have been partly decriminalised in South Africa yesterday. What does this mean for employers?

    I suggest the requirement that staff may not report to work under the influence of an intoxicating substance remains valid. And when it comes to cannabis, apparently traces remain detectable for up to 7 days.

    I reckon I'm going to be having a session with my staff pointing out that issue, and asking them not to get caught up in the current hype; rather keep their act clean.

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Given the fact that the acute physical effects are usually considered in medical studies as being 0-6 hours after use, I think the problem is going to be that any test giving a positive result up to 6 days after use is going to be moot. If canabis is a legal substance for consumption we need a new test that's based on the safety of the user to work rather than one that's indicating if the person has broken the law in the last week which is the indicating residual THD.
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    We decide a couple of years ago to introduce zero tolerance towards alcohol and started Breathalyzer every worker each morning.Did not think there was a problem besides the usual suspects.Opened a can of worms and it took 2 months to settle down to a stage where we could start issuing warnings and 3 months later went through the first dismissal.Did the CCMA story and won.Then everybody took it seriously.

    Due to the industry we are in,we come across some interesting characters , to put it mildly , and are always tweaking our contracts.
    One of the tweaks was drugs , legal/illegal or prescription.That particular tweak has not been tested at CCMA.

    We did find that the guys that abused alcohol were generally the ones that looked guilty with regards to drugs.

    We suddenly realized after a fair amount of time had past as to the reduction in accidents on site and the benefits that it provided.

    I have pasted our tweak to our contract below which hopefully can assist or somebody can tweak further before I have to appear before CCMA and test it.

    b.*** you may similarly be requested to submit yourself to*a breathalyser/alcohol test in the advent that the company suspects you of having more than 0% alcohol in your blood while on duty or on the company or a client's premises.
    You may also be assessed for impairment due to drugs ( legal /illegal /herbal ) whether on prescription or not. Note will be taken of circumstantial evidence, such as bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, unsteadiness on your feet, dishevelled appearance, aggressive or abusive or arrogant or out of character behavior, and the inability to walk a 10 meter straight line with the arms held out horizontally.
    By signing this letter of appointment you are agreeing to the company administering such a test, should it be deemed appropriate. The testing falls within the ambit of the OHSA.The company has a responsibility towards ensuring that each employee can return home at night without injury due to negligent behavior from another employee ( Due to the danger of working on site while machinery is in use, working on ladders etc The company has a zero tolerance alcohol policy )


    The problem with drugs is that the some of the chemicals remain in the blood long after the effects have worn off - So a test does not always mean that the employee was not capable of performing the task safely.I have a feeling CCMA would not uphold a dismissal with a test only or if the test would actually help at all.

    This was a piece, pasted below , that my friend google provided

    On average, here’s how long you’ll have to abstain from cannabis to pass the standard drug test:
    Urine:*3 to 77 days (10 to 30 days for regular consumers)
    Blood:*1 to 7 days
    Hair:*90 days
    Saliva:*1 to 7 days

    There are a few*factors that influence the amount of time it takes to detox. These include:

    Your individual metabolism
    Frequency of exercise
    Body mass index (BMI) (the higher the number, the longer it will take)
    How often you consume cannabis
    The potency*of the cannabis consumed
    The amount of cannabis consumed
    The parameters of the test

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