Growing flowers of cannabis intended for the medical marijuana market are shown at OrganiGram in Moncton (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Red Deer, Lacombe Chamber offer businesses a lesson in marijuana in the workplace

Legalizing recreational marijuana has created a lot of uncertainty and concerns for Red Deer businesses.

To alleviate some of that concern, the Red Deer and District, and Lacombe and District Chambers of Commerce will offer a workshop on marijuana in the workplace.

“Part of the concern is the unknown factor,” said Robin Bobocel, Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce CEO. “The concerns being around workplace safety, how you manage someone’s medical issues with respect to their consumption of cannabis and how that might affect customers and fellow employees.”

The workshop takes place on Jan. 17 at the Radisson Hotel (6500 67th St.).

Leading the discussion will be Kristi Pinkney-Hines of Hines Health Services, an occupational health professional based out of Fort McMurray. A registered nurse, Pinkney-Hines developed the presentation, which covers a wide range of topics from the differences between medical and recreational use, public health impacts, inhaled vs. ingested, Canadian Human Right Act and duty to accommodate. She worked with with the Crown Prosecutor officer and RCMP drug recognition experts while developing the program.

“A lot of people just don’t know what it means for their business,” said Pinkney-Hines. “A lot of people think its going to be a free-for-all when it’s legal, but it’s going to be similar to alcohol. You can’t go to work impaired on alcohol just like you can’t go to work impaired on marijuana.”

She said the presentation will also look at fitness for duty policies, types of impairment, driving under the influence, different impairment tests and potential limitations and restrictions.

Bobocel said they have heard many local businesses are concerned with what the implications of legalization will be. Some businesses may be in the process of developing policies around the issue.

“It may be much ado about nothing,” said Bobocel. “But without answers people tend to revert to the sky is falling.”

The legal recreational consumption of marijuana is scheduled to come into effect in July of 2018.

For more information on the workshop and cost contact Shelley Hanlan at 403-347-4491.

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