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5 Reasons Why Employers Should Allow Weed Breaks At Work

Standing desks. Flex hours. Unlimited vacation policies. Working from home. In 2016, employers are more open than ever to to new approaches for a happier, healthier, more productive workplaces. So, what about the new wave of employers allowing - and even encouraging - employees to consume cannabis on the clock?

Smoking weed at work has long been a thing in Silicon Valley - and it seems to have worked out pretty well for some of the highest-performing execs in the world. Here's why businesses in legal (and soon-to-be-legal) areas might want to consider a live-and-let-live approach.

1. Boosts productivity - to a point

Descartes Labs CEO and daily weed smoker Mark Johnson, 34, tells Bloomberg that most forward-thinking tech employers "just don't care." Says Johnson, "if you do, you don't need to hide it; and if you don't, you accept that there are people around you that do." Of course, not everyone can pull a 15-hour day after a wake 'n' bake: in order to make a laissez-faire approach to workplace weed viable, you need employees you can trust not to overdo it.

2. Spurs outside-the-box thinking

Most of us have had high ideas that turned out to actually be great, even once we settled down to earth. Kyle Sherman of Flowhub, a cannabis industry software firm, tells CNN Money, "if it helps our employees get work done, then we don't care if they consume at work [...] It definitely surfaces new ideas and a fresh take on things." Given that cannabis can, for many people, jumpstart inspiration, companies in creative sectors stand to benefit from relaxing their attitude. Here's a video from FlowHub explaining the rationale behind the policy:

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3. Chills out the vibe

If weed's a regular part of a your social life, it's because it makes you feel relaxed, less frazzled, and more comfortable with those around you. MassRoots founder Isaac Dietrich tells CNN he schedules weekly rooftop smoke sessions for strategic planning and employee team-building. Just as a 5 o'clock beer with the team on Friday increases the overall well-being and sense of camaraderie among employees, developing a sensible tolerance policy for cannabis can help your team gel.

4. Empowers employees

If folks are happy and getting stuff done, why crack down on how they do it? Young, talented, creative people are happier when their employer respects their work styles and trusts them to make good decisions. Draconian drug policies - except when they're necessary to keep people safe (say, when operating heavy equipment or looking after children) drive away great people. Allowing responsible cannabis use gives employees more freedom to decide when it's appropriate to do it. Though the article doesn't specifically talk about cannabis use, Business Insider quotes a study that stresses the importance of letting employees determine work schedules that suit their lifestyle needs: "offering employees [...] the ability to decide when and where they do their jobs, may be especially important for the health behaviour and well-being of contemporary employees, given the increasing time pressures, time speed-ups, and time conflicts most are experiencing."

5. Takes it into the mainstream

Folks in the cannabis industry: this is your big chance. If you believe that cannabis use is part of a healthy, productive lifestyle, why not put your money where your mouth is terms of your company policy? But regardless of how retrograde you personally believe zero-tolerance policies to be, the final say still rests with the boss, even in legal states. As lawyer Andrew Schpak explains to Oregon Live: "One of biggest things is that employers need to remind employees what their existing policies are around testing and tolerance. Just because you have a right to enjoy marijuana recreationally, that doesn't change an employer's policies."

If you're lucky, you have a boss that forgoes the enforcement of drug policies altogether. As lawyer Scott Hunt says in the same interview. "There are certain type[s of] work environments that depend on creativity and if they are small enough businesses, and the owners are part of that culture, that wouldn't surprise me at all. There's nothing that says an employer can't look the other way."

h/t CNN Money, The Guardian, Bloomberg, Oregon Live


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