Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness 

This trio of inalienable rights is stated in our Declaration of Independence.  The order is deliberate, life trumps liberty trumps happiness.  The hierarchy is essential when high stake decisions need to be made. The trio can be restated as follows, Life equals Public, Liberty equals Private, with Happiness equaling Passion.  Passing LD1384 is one of those high stake decisions.

What is done in the public domain matters to all. One poor decision and others may be at peril.  One proper decision and all may prosper. Hence, traffic and other laws that promote public and workplace safety.

What is done in the private domain is either an individual choice, or choices made between consenting individuals.

Passion is what drives us one up Maslow’s hierarchy to self realization. Passion may include both public and private elements.

LD1384 AAT Improve Workplace Safety by Simplifying and Improving Employers’ Substance Abuse Policy Requirements sits squarely on the triple point of Public, Private & Passion. What is done in one’s private life may have an impact on the public space of the workplace.

Marijuana is slowly coming out of accepted shadows and onto Main Street. This is being done primarily through citizen’s initiatives , at both the municipal and/or state level. Stage one was the decriminalization  for possession, typically done at the municipal level.  Stage two is medical marijuana, being done at the state level.  Stage three is outright legalization.

But there are some uresolved thorny issues.

  • Marijuana is an illegal substance at the federal level. (Americaa’s wanton and excessive consumption contributes the painful crime of corruption being felt in Latin American countries.)
  • As a medical care substance, marijuana is not licensed by the FDA.   What is an acceptable dose? How much, how often, how long?  To properly answer this question will require appropriate clinical trials.  Self medication may result in excessive contributions with unfortunate side effects that need to be known, stated and mitigated. (Think of the voice over of the small print for prescription advertisements.
  • Testing. Current testing is pass/fail for the presence or absence of illegal substances.  There is no consensus for a testing level that indicates impairment.

LD1384 is a step in the right direction for workplace safety.  Many of its initial precepts were necessary back in 1989.  Since then, other laws, practices & policies have made some of the precepts, quaint, obsolenct & redundant.  The one requiring an EAP comes to mind. The state has passed laws mandating mental health – which includes substance abuse – coverage to be included in health insurance policies.

Another necessary step is the probable cause testing clause. Regulations can be written to better define probable cause.  The risk to public and workplace safety needs to be recognized, accepted and respected.  There is no second chance from OUIs, why should there be a no second chance for serious workplace incidents.  Again, this speaks to the need for a consensus testing level that indicates impairment.

LD1384 was voted out of the LCRED Committee last week. It was a divided vote along party lines.  I am going to hazard a guess that the conservatives chose Life/Public safety while the liberals chose Liberty/Private. More may become known when the Minority/Divided report is published and Bill reported out to legislature for consideration.

Now is a good time to reach out to your legislatures and support this bill’s passing.

As always, stay tuned.


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