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CSU study: Is cannabis work dangerous?

The massive growth of the cannabis industry in Colorado has led to the creation of cannabis-related jobs throughout the state. But how safe are these jobs? Due to the recent rise of the industry, data about the health and safety of workers in cannabis-related jobs has been hard to come by.

That started to change last month, when researchers at Colorado State University (CSU) and their colleagues at the Colorado School of Public Health released the first in-depth report about the safety and wellbeing of workers in the cannabis industry. Titled "Work and Well-Being in the Colorado Cannabis Industry," the report examines the working conditions and health of those who have jobs related to medical and recreational marijuana. It also provides recommendations for the industry that are designed to improve the safety and wellbeing of cannabis workers.

How safe are cannabis industry workplaces?

While a full conclusion about the safety of workplaces in the cannabis industry cannot be reached without more research, the study makes note of the following facts:

  • Nearly a quarter of all workers in the cannabis industry were not trained on workplace safety practices.
  • Pesticides used in the industry provide a unique challenge to those who handle them, and to others who work in proximity to these chemicals.
  • Almost 80 percent of those who work in the cannabis industry used cannabis once a day or more.

What did the study recommend?

The study offered a wide range of recommendations for both cannabis workers and business owners in the industry. While a few of the recommendations were unique to the industry, many of them echo issues that are seen in related business fields in Colorado and throughout the country. This includes things such as:

  • Creating a standard level of safety training (regarding both quality and quantity of training) across the industry to reduce the extreme variability in training received by workers
  • Establishing stated policies for the use of cannabis and other substances both on- and off-the-job
  • Ensuring access to proper safety equipment

Want to learn more, check out the study and view our previous post on safety tips for workers in the marijuana industry in Colorado.

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