For Employers

One of the most pernicious and ubiquitous effects of cannabis prohibition is the conveyance of what traditionally should be law enforcement costs and duties onto the public and private employers.

In the mid 1980s, government officials acknowledged, first privately then publicly, that the federal and state law enforcement could not arrest and incarcerate their way to a so-called victory in the war on some drugs. As a result, government planners suggested laying the legal groundwork necessary to transfer part of the government's traditional responsibility to public and private workplace managers by helping to establish the drug testing industry.

Today, according to the American Management Association over 60% of all employees face pre-employment or on-the-job drug testing to get or maintain employment in the US.

Nevertheless, there are over 20 years of social, legal and economic data and research indicating that drug testing employees for off-the-job cannabis use is a poor use of company resources. Furthermore this policy is arbitrary, discriminatory and inherently unfair in an American workforce replete with alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical consumers.

In the last few years, more and more companies, large and small, have contacted NORML wanting to implement a more tolerant and enlightened workplace drug policy, especially for those employees who may use cannabis for medicinal and/or recreational purposes.

In response to this growing trend, a major business software company named Jian recently contacted NORML and requested us to provide them with a new and updated 'Substance Abuse' policy for their best-selling 'Employee Manual Builder' software. They requested NORML to draft a HR policy that treats employees who responsibly consume cannabis the same as responsible alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical-consuming employees.

Everyone—managers, employees and the general public—has a vested interest in safe workplaces and roadways. By contrast neither cannabis prohibition nor non-impairment drug testing achieves safe workplaces or roadways. Rather, NORML believes that a greater recognition of personal responsibility and privacy, and better use of science and technology, will greatly improve workplace and highway safety.

If you manage or own a business and want to have a better informed and modern 'Workplace Substance Abuse' policy regarding cannabis, or if you're employed by a company or organization that can benefit by updating their current employment practices, please consider adopting NORML's model workplace policy.

Since 1970, if it is important to cannabis consumers it is important to NORML.

*Please direct any questions, comments or suggestions regarding NORML’s HR policy regarding employee cannabis use to

NORML's Model Workplace Policy for Cannabis

Implement a more tolerant and enlightened workplace drug policy with 'NORML's Model Workplace Policy for Off-the-Job Cannabis Use.'