Cannabis use and workplace cannabis availability, perceptions and policies among Canadian workers: a comparison before and after the legalisation of non-medical cannabis

Publication type
Journal article
Carnide N, Lee H, Landsman V, Frone MR, Furlan AD, Smith PM
Date published
2022 Jul 01
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
epub ahead of print
Open Access?

OBJECTIVES: Little data exist examining the impact of non-medical (recreational) cannabis legalisation among a working population. The objective was to compare cannabis use patterns and workplace risk perceptions, cannabis availability and workplace use policies before and almost 1 year after legalisation in Canadian workers. METHODS: Two overlapping cross-sectional samples of Canadian workers were surveyed 4 months before legalisation (time 1 (T1), n=2011) and 9-11 months after legalisation (time 2 (T2), n=4032), gathering information on cannabis use (overall and workplace use), workers' perceptions regarding risks of workplace use, availability of cannabis at work and awareness of workplace substance use policies. The marginal distributions of these variables at T1 and T2 were compared, adjusting for sociodemographic, work and health and lifestyle factors. RESULTS: Cannabis use status changed from prelegalisation to postlegalisation (p<0.0001), with fewer respondents reporting former use (ie, more than 1 year ago; 40.4% at T1, 33.0% at T2) and a greater proportion of workers reporting past-year use (30.4% at T1, 39.3% at T2). Never use remained stable (29.2% at T1, 27.6% at T2). Workplace cannabis use also remained stable (9.4% at T1, 9.1% at T2; p=0.4580). At T1, 62.7% of respondents reported being aware of their workplace having a substance use policy, increasing to 79.0% at T2 (p<0.0001). Small magnitude changes occurred in perceptions of risk and workplace availability. CONCLUSIONS: Results point to a lack of substantive changes in the short-term from prelegalisation to postlegalisation. Longer-term data among workers are needed given the evolving nature of this legislative policy