Today, the NBA reported players participating in the 2020-2021 NBA season will not be drug tested for cannabis (marijuana). A spokesperson for the National Basketball Association announced:
“Due to the unusual circumstances in conjunction with the pandemic, we have agreed with the NBPA [player’s association] to suspend random testing for cannabis for the 2020-21 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse.”
This year both the NFL and MLB amended their drug testing policies so use of cannabis is no longer an offense resulting in a suspension. Black athletes dominate most professional sports, and Black males have suffered most severely in America’s 50 year war on drugs. Science is now taking precedent over superstition and discrimination.
“Going forward, cannabis-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct under the Parties’ Joint Treatment Program for Alcohol-Related and Off-Field Violent Conduct, which provides for mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment and the possibility of discipline by a Player’s Club or the Commissioner’s Office in response to certain conduct involving Natural Cannabinoids.”
Cannabis decriminalization is associated with increased probability of employment, particularly for young males, and an average increase of 4.5 percent in weekly earnings. African American males experienced the greatest average wage increase. “This data provides suggestive evidence that marijuana decriminalization laws improve extrinsic labor market outcomes … This result is consistent with existing literature that suggests Black adults, especially men, stand to benefit the most from removing these penalties.” [source]
Gallup polling research shows overwhelming majorities of Americans across age and demographic spectrums favor cannabis legalization, as support for legal cannabis reaches a new high of 68%. College graduates, people under the age of 50, and those living in households earning greater than $100,000 are the most likely supporters.
Elderly White officials, primarily women, such as 74-year-old Hawai’i state senator Roz Baker, and Republican males, such as 78-year-old U.S. senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, continue racist attitudes of cannabis discrimination in America and prevent our nation from moving forward.
Likely both Baker and McConnell enjoy beer, wine or their favorite cocktail on occasion. Senator Baker has been unwilling to limit access to nicotine vaping. One lobbyist for R.J. Reynolds tobacco company called McConnell a “special friend” to the company.
NPR documents that McConnell hypocritically cast doubt on the health consequences of smoking, repeated industry talking points word-for-word, attacked federal regulators at the industry’s request and opposed bipartisan tobacco regulations going back decades.
The tobacco industry, in turn, provided McConnell with millions of dollars in speaking fees, personal gifts, campaign contributions and charitable donations to the McConnell Center, which is home to his personal and professional archives.
Scientific Research About Employees and Cannabis
The current body of evidence does not provide sufficient evidence to support the position cannabis users are at increased risk of occupational injury.
Appears neither politician respects science. Research published in 2020 shows off-the-job cannabis use is not positively associated with elevated rates of occupational accidents or injuries. Comparing 136,536 working participants in a cross-sectional analysis of the Canadian Community Health Survey (2013-16), multiple logistic regression models calculated odds of experiencing a work-related injury (defined as non-repetitive strain injury) among workers who reported using cannabis more than once during the prior 12 months as compared to non-users.
The study found no association between past-year cannabis use and work-related injury. The association was unchanged in the subgroup analysis limited to high injury risk occupational groups.
A second study published 2020 found contrary to commonly-held beliefs, using data from 281 employees and their direct supervisors, after-work cannabis use did not relate (positively or negatively) to any of the three temporal-based cannabis measures and five forms of workplace performance. These findings cast doubt on stereotypes of cannabis users and suggests further methodological and theoretical development in the field of substance use.
Researchers did determine cannabis use before and during work negatively relates to task performance, organization-aimed citizenship behaviors, and two forms of counterproductive work behaviors.
A third peer-reviewed 2020 study concluded the current body of evidence does not provide sufficient evidence to support the position cannabis users are at increased risk of occupational injury. Further, their quality assessment research discovered significant biases in the extant literature due to potential confounding variables, selection of participants, and measurement of exposures and outcomes.
Medical cannabis allows workers to better manage symptoms associated with workplace injuries and illnesses and, in turn, reduce need for workers compensation.
Researching the effect of state medical cannabis (marijuana) laws (MMLs) on workers’ compensation (WC) claiming among adults in a fourth study, researchers in 2020 used data drawn from the Annual Social and Economic supplement to the Current Population Survey over the period 1989 to 2012, coupled with a differences‐in‐differences design to provide the first evidence on this relationship.
Their estimates demonstrated, post MML, WC claiming declines, both the propensity to claim and the level of income from WC. These findings suggest that medical cannabis can allow workers to better manage symptoms associated with workplace injuries and illnesses and, in turn, reduce need for WC.
Legalizing medical cannabis improves workplace safety for workers aged 25-44.
A 2018 peer-reviewed scientific study found evidence suggesting legalizing medical cannabis improved workplace safety for workers aged 25-44. The researchers now seek additional investigation to determine whether this result is attributable to reductions in the consumption of alcohol and other substances that impair cognitive function, memory and motor skills.
Specifically, legalizing medical cannabis was associated with a 19.5% reduction in the expected number of workplace fatalities among workers aged 25-44. The association between legalizing medical cannabis and workplace fatalities among workers aged 25-44 grew stronger over time.
Five years after coming into effect, MMLs were associated with a 33.7% reduction in the expected number of workplace fatalities. MMLs that listed pain as a qualifying condition or allowed collective cultivation were associated with larger reductions in fatalities among workers aged 25-44 than those that did not.
In 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine concluded there is conclusive or substantial evidence cannabis or cannabinoids are effective for the treatment for chronic pain in adults; antiemetics in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; and, for improving patient-reported multiple sclerosis spasticity symptoms. The researchers found no evidence to support a statistical association between cannabis use and occupational accidents or injuries.
Blue-collar workers were 63% more likely to be injured on the job when compared to white-collar workers; workers who spent all or most of the time expending physical efforts, and held five or more jobs per year at least doubled their likelihood of a work-related injury compared to their corresponding counterparts. Current smokers had a 38% higher risk of work-related injury than those who never smoked. When compared to workers with normal weight, injury risk was 34% and 13% higher for obese and overweight workers, respectively. Any cocaine use increased the risk of injury by about 16% compared to individuals who never used cocaine.
A 2015 study determined after controlling for demographic variables, occupational injuries were 18% more likely in construction than in non-construction. Blue-collar occupations, job physical efforts, multiple jobs, and long working hours accounted for the escalated risk in construction. Smoking, obesity/overweight, and cocaine use significantly increased the risk of work-related injury when demographics and occupational factors were held constant. However, off-work alcohol consumption and cannabis use were not significant factors.
Obese/overweight, smoking, and cocaine use were risk factors for work-related injuries; however, drinking alcohol and cannabis use were not significant.
A 2010 study examined urinalysis testing in the workplace, which has been adopted widely by employers in the U.S. to deter employee drug use and promote ‘drugfree’ work-places. In other countries, such as Canada, testing is focused more narrowly on identifying employees whose drug use puts the safety of others at risk.
Urinalysis testing is not recommended as a diagnostic tool to identify employees who represent a job safety risk from cannabis use. Blood testing for active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can be considered by employers who wish to identify employees whose performance may be impaired by their cannabis use.
The researchers found (i) acute effects of smoking cannabis impair performance for a period of about 4 hours; (ii) long-term heavy use of cannabis can impair cognitive ability, but it is not clear that heavy cannabis users represent a meaningful job safety risk unless using before work or on the job; (iii) urine tests have poor validity and low sensitivity to detect employees who represent a safety risk; (iv) drug testing is related to reductions in the prevalence of cannabis positive tests among employees, but this might not translate into fewer cannabis users; and (v) urinalysis has not been shown to have a meaningful impact on job injury/accident rates.
Reasonable companies and employers do not punish employees for legal off-the-job recreational or medical cannabis use. Isn’t it time to stop hurting each other?
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