Legalized Recreational Marijuana: Safety, Ethical, and Legal Perceptions of the Workforce

Sherratt, Fred and Welfare, Katherine and Hallowell, Matthew and Hoque Tania, Marzia (2018) Legalized Recreational Marijuana: Safety, Ethical, and Legal Perceptions of the Workforce. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 144 (6). ISSN 1943-7862

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Recreational drug use in construction is an area of concern for safety managers, and the legalization of marijuana in several US states may result in increased use among workers. Experimental approaches and policy creation are not straightforward because of the problems around existing methods of drug testing for marijuana that stem from the fact that its longevity in the body outlasts actual intoxication and a lack of scientific agreement of quantifiable long-term effects on work performance. Here, a social constructionist methodology has been adopted to explore perspectives of marijuana legalization as revealed through conversations with fifty construction site workers. Findings show that although legalization has had no impact on use amongst construction workers, impairment whilst at work remains unacceptable. A conflict now exists around personal freedoms and drug testing, leading to both resignation and dissatisfaction amongst workers. This could negatively influence the development of a positive safety culture on sites, and hinder worker engagement with safety overall. It is recommended that companies and unions recognize that blanket testing policies are problematic in practice, and support the development of accurate testing for immediate impairment from marijuana use.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Legalised Marijuana, Construction Workers, Health and Safety
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Fred Sherratt
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2018 16:19
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 18:57

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