In part one of this two-part series, a Denver contractor lawyer at Cotney Construction Law discussed the opportunities and challenges associated with cannabis construction. Now, we will be discussing how legalized marijuana is affecting the workers of this fine industry. While the U.S. government has taken a hands-off approach to enforcing federal laws, that could change at any time. Partner with the Denver contractor lawyers at Cotney Construction Law to ensure that you are never caught off guard by conflicting state and federal laws that are constantly in flux.
An Industry at Risk
With injury commonplace in this industry, many construction workers become addicted to opioids in an effort to combat pain and mental stress. It only makes sense that workers would attempt to medicate with a legal substance when given the opportunity. This creates a precarious situation for employers trying to keep their workforce safe while accommodating employees with medical needs. Your construction business will need to take a clear stance on legalized marijuana.
What Should Construction Companies Do?
Legalized cannabis has the obvious potential to undermine safety on construction sites due to its active ingredient, THC. Marijuana use impairs sensory perception, memory, motor coordination, and judgment. Because of this, construction companies in Colorado should treat recreational marijuana no differently than drug and alcohol use on the jobsite. Think about it. You wouldn’t want someone high anywhere near a nail gun, just like you wouldn’t want a worker drunk while operating heavy machinery.
Employers can still drug test and make employment decisions based on an employee’s drug use, regardless of the legalization of prescribed medical marijuana. Implementing drug testing and a comprehensive drug policy can go a long way towards ensuring that your workers always maintain their physical and mental faculties. Consult with one of our Denver contractor attorneys to ensure that your drug policy complies with state and federal laws.
If you do decide to accommodate a worker that has come forward with their medical marijuana usage, you must take steps to ensure that the safety of this worker and the entire workforce isn’t compromised. Be aware, federal laws regarding cannabis take precedence on federally funded projects. This means that marijuana use on federal projects in Denver is illegal, regardless of the laws in Colorado.
It’s Too Soon to Tell What the Full Impact Will Be
Cannabis has been legal in Colorado for less than a decade, and it’s already a massive industry. It’s impossible to tell what the full impact of legalized cannabis on the construction industry will be. What remains certain is that contractors and construction companies are always responsible for the safety of their workers. Partner with the experienced Denver contractor attorneys at Cotney Construction Law to ensure that you and your workforce are protected from any legal threat, be it on or offsite.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.