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What SA’s cannabis law means for South Africans at work

CapeTalk Host Kieno Kammies interviews Shane Johnson, a professional support lawyer at Weber Wentzel, about the legalisation of cannabis and what it means for the workplace.

Cannabis. Picture: pixabay.com

CAPE TOWN – Now that cannabis use is legal in South Africa, concerns have been raised about the implications for employees.

Last year, the Constitutional Court ruled that the private use, cultivation and possession for the personal use of cannabis was legal.

The judgment, however, does not deal with the implications in the workplace. As a result, an employment lawyer said there were many unanswered questions from employers. For instance, if an employee decided to use cannabis during a lunch break or before work, how should a manager deal with this?

Weber Wentzel lawyer Shane Johnson explained that while there were tests available to measure cannabis levels, testing devices were not easily assessable in the country.

“A boss can use certain tests, but they’re own risk and that’s the problem employers are grappling with.”

Added to this, the court ruling did not provide an official measure of impairment, which would help employers decide whether marijuana use would affect an employee’s productivity or lead to injury.

Johnson further explained that marijuana use does not imply that an employee is impaired.

“Cannabis affects people in different ways. For some people, it could enhance their performance, while others it could affect them negatively. The employer needs to be able to show that it has a negative effect on an employee’s job.”

Listen to the audio for more.