Colorado Cannabis Workers Happy – Perhaps Some A Little Too Happy?

Cannabis worker survey
Image: StayRegular

Colorado State University researchers have published a study delving into various aspects of working in the cannabis trade in the state.

Colorado has a thriving legal adult use and medical cannabis industry. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED), there were more than 37,000 badge holders* in the state at the beginning of this year.

The CSU study indicates workers generally felt secure in their jobs and valued safety, but it was also found they regularly consumed cannabis, had low concerns about workplace hazards, and experienced occupational injuries and exposures.

The use of cannabis by workers is sure to raise some alarm bells. While that issue wasn’t expanded upon in a related article on CSU or in the study abstract, Westword notes in comments on the study more than two-thirds of respondents were registered medical marijuana patients who may consume cannabis medication without impairment, but adds: “they’re just not supposed to consume it on the job.”

Some cannabis medicines, such as those based on cannabidiol, do not have an intoxicating effect, therefore pose little threat in terms of workplace safety – still, it’s an aspect of the study that sends up an important flag requiring further investigation.

Another issue of concern was 46 percent of the 214 respondents reported little to no worker safety training since commencing employment.

The study concluded:

“Working in the cannabis industry is associated with positive outcomes for workers and their organizations, but there is an imminent need to establish formal health and safety training to implement best practices.”

The study, “An overview of health and safety in the Colorado cannabis industry,” was recently published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

The issue of training in the cannabis industry was also raised in study of retailer workers back in 2016 that found only fifty-five percent of dispensary staff surveyed across the country said they had some formal training for their position – and only 20% reported  medical/scientific training.

* A badge holder is a person who holds a license to work in medical and retail facilities or for vendors that provide services to medical or retail business licensees