CDC: Marijuana use may spur industries to rethink current policies



A breakdown of marijuana use across industries encourages employers to be aware of, and possibly reevaluate, their current workplace safety policies, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As legal recreational marijuana use continues to expand across the United States, marijuana has been shown to inhibit certain motor skills, which has made it crucial for employers to have a better understanding how best to approach safety training, according to the study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“We have been looking at some of the behavioral risk factors associated with marijuana legalization and were interested in the data broken down by industry and occupation, which could help employers make decisions on any kind of safety and drug use policies in the workplace,” lead author Roberta Smith, RN, occupational health program manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said in a interview. “This doesn’t necessarily imply any impairment on the job, but these data will reinforce current policies and encourage employers to go back and see how their work places operate and make sure their employees are good to staff.”

To examine current marijuana use by working adults and the industries and occupations in which they are employed, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment analyzed data from the state’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System regarding current marijuana use (at least 1 day during the preceding 30 days) among 10,169 persons who had responded to the current marijuana use question.

Participants were over the age of 21 years old and were either employed at the time of the survey or had been unemployed for less than a year.

In the overall population, 14.6% reported using marijuana, with higher prevalence in men (17.2%) and those 18-25 years old (29.6%).

By industry, accommodation and food service workers reported the highest rate of use at 30.1%, followed by those in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry with 28.3%.

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