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Should You Let Your Employees Smoke Pot at Work?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

It's probably a question that was unthinkable just a few short years ago. But with more states legalizing recreational and medical marijuana (and a whole lot more with bud bills on the ballot), it may be time for small businesses to rethink their office pot policies.

Denver-based software company Flowhub and social media networks High There! and MassRoots have weed-friendly offices, allowing cannabis consumption on the clock. So is this trend just for weed industry startups in Denver? Or should you be letting your employees get high nine to five?

Creative Cannabiz

To be clear, we're not talking about putting up with puffing employees -- there's no law that says you must allow workers to consume marijuana, even the medical kind, even with a prescription, even in a state that allows it. The question is, should you allow your staff to toke up at work, even though you don't have to? And, for these companies at least, there answer is yes.

"Our philosophy at Flowhub is to get s*** done," says co-founder Kyle Sherman. "If it helps our employees get work done, then we don't care if they consume at work." He has also noted positive results in weekly brainstorming meetings: "It definitely surfaces new ideas and a fresh take on things." Darren Roberts, cofounder of High There!, agrees. "It has led us to breakthrough moments for our business," he told CNN. "So yes, it's been very effective for us."

Pot Not for Everyone

Keep in mind that these three companies are deeply entrenched in Colorado's "cannabusiness" scene. "Being in Denver, we're in the heart of the cannabis industry," said Roberts. "Cannabis is part of our culture." So if the ganja game ain't your thing, weed at work may not work for your company. And keep in mind these are companies in the business of creativity. Marijuana may not work as well in the manufacturing industry.

And then there's always the don't-ask-don't-tell approach. A sales exec told CNN that pot use at his SF-based software company was an open secret. "It's very well known that most of the employees here consume cannabis regularly during the work day," he said. "There are so many daily challenges in a startup environment, and you need to press ahead. Sometimes I get a second wind and I'll put in a few more hours."

Assessing your workforce, your workflow, and your state's marijuana statutes are all considerations to take seriously before crafting your small business's office pot policy. If you want legal advice, contact a lawyer in your area today.

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