Marijuana is dangerous and should not be legalized. Actual results in Colorado will demonstrate why. This blog post lists the adverse effects of marijuana in Colorado. We list steps employers should take to protect co-workers and members of the public and how individuals under the current influence should be kept out of your workforce.
Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) tracks the impact of marijuana legalization in the state of Colorado. This is why marijuana is dangerous.
· Traffic deaths when a driver was positive for marijuana more than doubled from 55 deaths in 2013 to 125 deaths in 2016.
· Traffic deaths increased 66 percent in the four-year average (2013-2016) since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana compared to the four-year average (2009-2012) prior to legalization.
· During the same time period, all traffic deaths increased 16 percent.
· In 2009, Colorado marijuana-related traffic deaths involving drivers testing positive for marijuana represented 9 percent of all traffic deaths. By 2016, that number has more than doubled to 21 percent.
· The yearly rate of emergency department visits related to marijuana increased 35 percent after the legalization of recreational marijuana (2011-2012 vs. 2013-2015).
· Number of hospitalizations related to marijuana: o 2011 – 6,305 o 2012 – 6,715 o 2013 – 8,272 o 2014 – 11,439 o Jan-Sept 2015 – 10,901
· The yearly number of marijuana-related hospitalizations increased 72 percent after the legalization of recreational marijuana (2009-2012 vs. 2013-2015).
How can this information impact employers? It should demonstrate how important it is to avoid individuals who are currently under the influence of marijuana while operating in a safety sensitive position.
And it is crucial for employers to have a clear job description that communicates why being under the influence while performing the job’s duties will not be tolerated. Employers should not only consider jobs where being under the influence of any drug will possibly injure co-workers or members of the public. Any job where operating under the influence will negatively impact performing the duties of the job be carefully considered.