Devils lettuce, pot, dope, mary jane, call it what you will but Tamworth employers are urged to consider workplace policies as more doctors prescribe medicinal cannabis.
Sydney-based Bryce Dick, the managing director of The Drug Detection Agency (TDDA) was in Tamworth on Tuesday, November 14, talking to about 20 local businesses about how to update their policies to cater for employees who are on prescription-based cannabis.
"One of the most discussed points is now about medicinal cannabis being used regularly, and being prescribed regularly, involving large or high percentages of THC, which is the part of the plant that gets people stoned or affects their ability to function," Mr Dick said.
"The Therapeutic Goods Administration is very clear, that with any THC-based medication, the employee worker should not be using machinery or driving motor vehicles.
"So, what we're talking about today is the impact that has on safety sensitive work environments."
Marijuana plants contain the non-psychoactive compound called cannabidiol (CBD), and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the psychoactive, or mind-altering, part of the plant that gives a person a 'high'.
Both have been prescribed as medications - basically, CBD as a pain reliever and muscle relaxant, and THC to prevent or reduce nausea and muscle spasms and aid in sleep.
However, both are known to cause short and long-term side effects, depending on the individual patient's reaction, while also assisting those with ailments and illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.*
Although cannabis is illegal in NSW, doctors can register with the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) to become an Authorised Prescriber (AP) or via the Special Access Scheme (SAS) to prescribe THC and or CBD as a medicine to their patients.
Mr Dick said employees should inform their workplace supervisor about any impacts THC will have on their performance, based on their doctor's advice.
And then it is up to the employer to reasonably accommodate that person so they fit within the workplace, Mr Dick said.
"And that allows the company to mitigate the risk because nearly all of that onus is put back on the company to make sure they provide that safe working environment under WHS [Work Health and Safety] obligations," he said.
Mr Dick said the fact that it is illegal to drive in NSW with THC in the system means it should also be illegal to operate heavy or dangerous machinery in the work place.
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