Marijuana usage in the workplace worries Columbus leaders

Columbus drug symposium

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The heated debate over medical marijuana flared up at a local event on Tuesday.

"We know it's coming this way, it's coming," said one attendee of the event hosted by the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

From the West to East Coast, legislators and advocates are re-evaluating laws concerning the green bud that is gaining attention from medicinal claims to recreational usage.

Now Columbus officials are speaking out against marijuana and other illegal substances, saying if future legislation in Georgia legalizes the drug, businesses could suffer.

"That way we can draw awareness to the issue but also help make our businesses safer places to work, and safer places to do business," said Brian Anderson, President and CEO of the Great Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

Speakers added impaired workers could hurt themselves and or do their jobs poorly. "So will there be a qualified supply of adequate workers," asked one panel member to the audience of business owners.

Tuesday, at the chamber's Drugs Don't Work Symposium, speakers addressed research surrounding marijuana usage, and how being drug-free helps businesses save money on their worker's comp insurance.

"It helps them on their insurance rates, more importantly it draws awareness to the fact that drugs in the workplace are an issue any time you have impaired, any impaired activity in the workplace it could be dangerous," said Anderson. 

However, not all in attendance were completely on board with the claims from speakers. "We feel like as a society we can pick and choose what drugs are okay," said one attendee.

A panel addressed comments and concerns, but reminded everyone that at this point nothing is really up for debate, as Georgia law currently does not allow drugs in the workplace, or at home.

"It's still against the law to utilize marijuana, whether off premise or on premise," said Don Cooper with CSU's Center for Professional Solutions.

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