Almost half of Canadian workplaces are 'not prepared' for cannabis legalization, a new study by the Human Resources Professional Association has found.

Roughly 46 percent of HR professionals believe their company policies don’t properly address potential issues associated with legalization, it was revealed in a survey included with the report.

Only 11 percent of respondents, in fact, reported that their workplaces have a policy addressing cannabis use.

“Employers are concerned, and both governments and employers have a role to play to ensure workplaces are properly prepared for the legalization of marijuana on July 1, 2018,” said Bill Greenhalgh, HRPA’s chief executive.

In the reported, titled 'Clearing the Haze: The Impacts of Marijuana on the Workplace', the top concerns expressed by professionals include employees operating motor vehicles and heavy machinery, along with dips in work performance and attendance.

The report makes 10 recommendations to government officials and employers to prepare for a predicted rise in cannabis use and how that may impact Canadian workplaces. These recommendations include asking the federal government to maintain two regulatory streams for medical and recreational cannabis and asking employers to look at the benefits of medical marijuana coverage.

 “Governments must ensure that issues such as the legal definition of impairment - and how to accurately test those levels - are resolved before the legalization date,” said Greenhalgh said.

“On the other hand, employers must continually update and communicate their current drug policies to employees so expectations are clear.”

The report also states that a zero tolerance cannabis policy isn't advisable because it “could cause discrimination against employees who use cannabis to treat or relieve the symptoms of a disability.”

“We have heard from human resources professionals that strict policies and government guidelines will be critically important to safety-sensitive workplaces,” said Greenhalgh.

Greenhalgh added that next July may seem like a long time away, but employers must start preparing now.

“While a year may sound like a lot to prepare for the legalization of marijuana, we are urging employers to act now. In terms of legalization on a broad scale, Canada is in uncharted territory,” said Greenhalgh. “The sooner employers can communicate clear policies to employees, the better.”

h/t The Star