Just as digital transformation has disrupted legacy business models, cannabis legalization will fundamentally challenge workplace policies.

On Oct. 17, recreational marijuana will officially become legal in Canada. According to a recent study conducted by Deloitte, 22 per cent of the Canadian adult population consumes recreational cannabis at least occasionally, and a further 17 per cent show some willingness to try it.

When we look at the single largest generation in the work force – millennials born between 1980 and 2000 – we see even higher receptivity. A national millennial study conducted by Intercept revealed that nearly three-quarters of respondents agree with the legalization of cannabis. And, they’re eager to try a variety of formats, including marijuana-infused baked food (52 per cent), skin lotions (49 per cent), candy (40 per cent) and vapour (38 per cent). Interestingly, while the majority of millennials agree with legalization, they also have concerns. Nearly 40 per cent believe it may lead to poorer performance at work.

Like it or not, cannabis consumption is about to spike. The total number of Canadians who’ve already registered for medical marijuana use exceeded 270,000 in December, 2017, according to Health Canada.

If you’re concerned about the implication of cannabis legalization, you’re in good company. In a report by the Conference Board of Canada, more than half of Canadian employers expressed concern about the implications of legalized marijuana on the workplace.

Cannabis will force company leaders to rethink existing workplace policies and implement new ones to ensure they’re offering a safe, inclusive and productive environment.

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