Psychology of Performance – 39: Legalization of Marijuana

The states that passed legalization of marijuana in all probability made a good decision for all the well known reasons such as quality control, lowering prison costs (half of our world highest inmate population are in for drug possession charges), increased tax revenue, and squeezing out organized crime in this area. The epidemiology incidence of people who use marijuana for self medication or recreation is not going to go up or down. They are using it regardless, similar to alcohol during prohibition. What does this have to do with the psychology of performance?

The evidence is clear that individuals do not perform most tasks or think clearly when impaired. Employers already have the right to drug test their employees and are required by law to provide a safe work environment. Just because alcohol has been legal does not mean that employees are entitled to drink at work or come to work under the influence of alcohol. The precedents are already in place and should also apply to marijuana. The rest of the story for marijuana users is that even recreational use will show up for a month in random or “for cause” drug testing. So until impairment levels can be defined by the enforcement side of these laws, it would be prudent for those individuals inclined to use marijuana to continue to refrain from such usage. Bottom line, both alcohol and marijuana will impair performance despite stories such as the one in the movie “Flight.”

Remember to exchange love and happiness with everyone you meet.

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.,
CEO, and Psychologist

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