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Cannabis and workplace safety conference to take place in Lloydminster

Assure Occupational Testing is hosting a panel discussion about the impacts of marijuana in the workplace.

The conference will include, a local practicing doctor who will talk about the science of marijuana, a lawyer who will dive into policies, as well as representatives from Alberta Labour, the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority and the City of Lloydminster.

Founder and CEO of Assure Occupational Testing Jon Rokochy says that they have been receiving questions almost daily about how the legalization of marijuana will affect drug testing in the workplace.

“So whether or not cannabis is legal it doesn’t change whether we can drug test or not. Cannabis is a psychoactive drug so it can cause a person to be impaired in a workplace and with safety being such a key issue at work we need to make sure workers are well equipped to get into a truck, to be on company property, driving a vehicle to be on public roads, we need to make sure these workers are fit for duty.”

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Drug testing shows the presence of THC in a persons system, but does not show the impairment of the drug like a Breathalyzer does with alcohol. Rokochy says that one of the concerns employers have is how to show impairment for an employee.

“What a lot of companies are doing is they’ll include a oral fluid swab for marijuana, in addition to a urine drug test. Oral fluid shows more recent use, so if a person is testing positive for THC from a oral fluid test that means they’ve used within hours. A urine drug test means they’ve used within days.”

Rokochy adds that there will be an adjustment period once marijuana is legalized for workplaces. For example, he says in Colorado people thought it was okay to smoke pot on their lunch break because it is legal, but it is not similar to alcohol.

Currently, the City is proposing a ban on smoking marijuana in public spaces, as well as in vehicles. In both Saskatchewan and Alberta the same bans will be in place one marijuana is legalized in Canada.

The event will be taking place May 29 at the Royal Hotel from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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