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Dear CEOs, Just Say No to Cannabis Testing

Why companies need to stop testing their employees for cannabis (unless they are legally required).

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Dear CEOs,

Cannabis testing is bad for business.

It is preventing you from hiring great employees. It is limiting the performance and well-being of your current employees. Policies that attempt to discourage cannabis consumption are presently causing labor shortages.

We now know that cannabis consumed purposefully makes a person healthier. How? We have the data to prove it. People use cannabis for many beneficial purposes: to focus, enhance their creativity, relax after a stressful day, energize their minds, or get a great night's sleep.

Cannabis is not just about getting high. It's about living better.

If you already agree with the above, well done. You were not tricked by the "Just Say No" policies of Nancy Reagan.

I understand your skepticism.

Maybe you think that weed is just for stoners. Or perhaps you believe that productive people don't use marijuana. That cannabis consumers can't possibly be great employees.

I admittedly used to think these things, but not anymore. And I'm not the only one.

The stigma surrounding marijuana use is steadily dying. Nearly 70 percent of Americans now favor adult-use recreational legalization, and over 90 percent support legalization for medical purposes.

But that word "recreational" only adds to our collective confusion. Nearly every cannabis consumer uses cannabis to make their life better somehow. Cannabis consumers are generally productive members of their communities, great parents, great students, and great employees.

A recent survey of American cannabis consumers performed by New Frontier Data revealed that 81 percent of consumers rate the impact their cannabis consumption has on their lives as very or somewhat positive, while less than 1 percent rate it as very or somewhat negative.

Does that surprise you? It shouldn't. We've used cannabis to improve well-being for thousands of years. Decades of senseless prohibition have caused us to lose our cultural knowledge of its benefits.

Related: Why That Doctor's Note for Medical Marijuana Won't Keep You From Losing Your Job

What the modern cannabis consumer looks like

Meet Jennifer. Jennifer is one of your best employees. She is a mother, wife, and active member of her community. She is also a purposeful consumer of cannabis.

After a long day spent contributing to your company's success, Jennifer enjoys just the right dose of a delicious 1:1 THC: CBD edible. She finds that it helps melt away the stresses of the day. She's present in the moment as she navigates the second half of her day at home with her family. She makes dinner, does homework with her kids, and even makes sure to do her 15-minutes of yoga before bed instead of mindlessly scrolling on social media.

The next day, she wakes up feeling energized. There is no hangover. The effects of yesterday's edible are long gone.

Jennifer consistently shows up ready to perform at a high level for you as an employee.

Do you not want Jennifer as an employee? Should it really matter to you what she does to unwind after a long day?

The truth about wellness

America is experiencing an increasingly well-documented mental health crisis. As employers, who are we to limit what our employees can do to manage and maintain their mental health and wellbeing? People like Jennifer occupy positions across the professional landscape. Let's support them.

Here are some things about healthy living that we can all agree on:

  • You + exercise > you (read as "you plus exercise is greater than you")
  • You + a good diet > you
  • You + proper hydration > you
  • You + good sleep > you

Here's the new part: In the same way that exercise, a good diet, proper hydration, and good sleep make you more and improve your wellbeing, so can purposeful cannabis consumption.

Our data shows that:

  • You + cannabis > you

And therefore:

  • Your employees + cannabis > Your employees

People who are feeling their best will perform at their best. If your employees choose to incorporate purposeful cannabis consumption into their wellness routine, it can help them unlock a new level of wellbeing. Why be an obstacle on their path?

Improving performance

On the Jointly platform, consumers track their cannabis consumption to improve their results in using cannabis to make their life better.

People get results using cannabis in pursuit of 12 different beneficial purposes. They relax, relieve stress, energize, sleep better, recover from exercise, enjoy exercise more, ease everyday pain, enjoy social experiences, focus, and enhance creativity.

Consumers choose these goals and then get better at achieving them through purposeful consumption. They do so by being mindful of product choice, dose, the time between doses, ingestion method, and the intersection of cannabis consumption with healthy lifestyle habits.

That cannabis can perform better or worse depending on how you use it is proof that it works.

But consumers need help. Cannabis is a complex plant we can use for many different purposes. A person's experience with cannabis can be impacted by at least 15 factors. This is why so many in the cannabis industry are focused on consumer education.

Prohibition does not promote education. Cannabis testing stifles conversation. That same New Frontier Data study shows that over 90% of people talk to their friends and family about their cannabis consumption, while only about 50% of people talk to their co-workers. Does that make for a healthy workplace?

What the science says

While science has made some progress in exploring this topic, scientists are limited by a lack of data and resources— again because of the stigma, antiquated laws, and our old friend Nancy. Fortunately, despite these obstacles, progress is being made. The answer seems to be in our endocannabinoid system, but that's a subject for another time.

While we wait for the laws to allow modern science to catch up:

  • Our community of users who improve their well-being through purposeful consumption is proof.
  • Our data that indicates that certain cannabis products perform better for certain goals is proof.
  • Jennifer is proof.
  • You, too, could be the proof, if you decide to give it a shot.
  • All studies suggest that cannabis legalization doesn't impact workplace safety.

Cannabis is here to stay. Businesses and business leaders need to adapt. It's high time for you to get on the right side of history.