Less than two weeks after WA’s Select Committee into Cannabis and Hemp identified workplace drug testing as a significant barrier to patient access, it has emerged a mining company in the state has stood down a worker who legally used the medicine.
According to the ABC, a former Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) contractor was suspended for more than five weeks after failing a random drug test, despite having a prescription. He later resigned.
The report said firms are clamping down as they struggle to determine what level of use makes an employee unfit for work.
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy recently told the select committee inquiry there was no clear consensus on how much THC in a person’s system constituted impairment, but most took a zero-tolerance approach.
The ABC said it had seen FMG documents updating its medicinal cannabis policy to provide “a progressive and equitable position on the growing prevalence of medicinal cannabis in our industry”.
Its use with a prescription is now permitted if approved by the firm’s chief medical officer, and with a THC limit of 50 micrograms per litre.
However, Dr Matty Moore said it was difficult to determine how much would push a patient over the limit, describing 50 micrograms as “a very small amount”.
He added: “Any real dosage of THC, even a week out, can [register] positive for 50 micrograms. It’s very trace. If you have any kind of cannabis with THC in it you’re going to pop positive for 50 micrograms.”
Dr Moore said he did not believe someone with 50 micrograms of THC in their blood would be impaired.
A FMG spokesperson said the company’s alcohol and drug policy ensured team members were fit to perform their role safely, and that all workers declare any medication which might impair their fitness for work.