Americans Not Too Keen on Co-workers Who Smoke Pot

Spread the News

Raleigh, NC, May 20, 2014 – It’s now legal in some places and becoming more socially acceptable in others. But the thought of working with colleagues who get high on their own time still doesn’t fly for many Americans. A new poll commissioned by Workplace Options, the world’s leading employee effectiveness and well-being provider, shows that Americans are not sold on the idea that marijuana use and professional productivity can go hand-in-hand. According to the poll results, almost half of American workers (46 percent) said they would lose confidence in colleagues who use marijuana outside the workplace – regardless of its legal status. Among the poll’s other interesting findings:

  • Nearly four in 10 American workers (36 percent) have worked with a colleague they knew to be using marijuana.
  • One in 12 workers said they have used marijuana within 12 hours of the start of their workday
  • And 40 percent of the workforce reported knowing a friend or co-worker who was absent from work due to marijuana or other drug use

“What these poll results show is a workforce concerned about having to pick up the slack for a co-worker who may not be operating at full capacity,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options. “Marijuana has been categorized as an illegal drug for a long time. Employees are weary of the thought that their co-workers can get high after work and come in and function with no impact on their performance.”

“This is a tricky situation for businesses, but it boils down to productivity and absenteeism,” Debnam explained. “If legalization of marijuana is an issue that has the potential to affect employee engagement or attendance at work, then businesses should consider how to best handle it with their own staff.”

Millennials More Optimistic About Marijuana Use and Productivity

The poll results show a significant divide between the attitudes of millennials and those over the age of 30 when it comes to marijuana use and workplace productivity. Of millennials, 70 percent reported they would not lose confidence in a co-worker they knew to be using marijuana outside the workplace. And 26 percent admitted to using marijuana within 12 hours of the start of their workday, compared to just seven percent of older workers who reported the same.

“In general, younger people tend to have more liberal attitudes when it comes to recreational drug use,” Debnam said. “But as the numbers show, older workers are more concerned about having to pull the extra weight of a colleague who is not performing up to par.”

The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling on May 6-7 and is based on responses from 609 working Americans. The margin of error is +/- 4 percent. Full results are available online HERE.

For more information about Workplace Options, visit, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.