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Reclassifying Marijuana, Career Advice and Workplace Disclosures: What I’m Reading This Week

May 17, 2024
A look at some news of note for safety professionals.

I can’t believe it’s Friday—and I’m dreading that the week has flown by. We’re in production for our next print issue, the deadline for America’s Safest Companies is near and I’m leaving for a vacation.

In other words, there are a lot of exciting things at work, but I’m also overwhelmed. I made some last minute online and in person purchases for our trip. I was simultaneously updating my packing list, grocery shopping list, to-do list and schedule during dinner a few weeks ago. I am rereading and redoing things because I am doubting my writing and editing abilities.

Amid this downward spiral, I presented myself with a question:

What can I do to make myself less stressed?

I’ve been leaning hard into that one, and it has helped. Yes, it would be nice to finish that task, but it’s not essential. Sure, if I had a spare hour or two, I’d tackle it, but I simply don’t have the time right now.

It helps have a partner who reminds you that vacations are supposed to be fun, so I need to stop worrying and enjoy myself. It also helps that I get migraines if I get less than six hours of sleep a night, so at least I’m somewhat rested.

Until next time, take care and be safe.

Reclassifying Marijuana

President Joe Biden announced on May 16 that his administration would proceed with reclassifying cannabis from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug.

Marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I drug since 1972. According to the Controlled Substances Act, Schedule I drugs are considered to have now medical use and high potential for abuse. Other Schedule I substances include heroin, ecstasy and LSD.

This rescheduling would not make the good leaf legal at a federal level. However, it could make it easier to research the plant.

Currently, the Controlled Substances Act requires an individual who wishes to conduct research on Schedule I drugs to register with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). If approval for research is granted, researchers must source their cannabis from the National Institute on Drug Abuse Drug Supply Program or cannabis and cannabis products may be imported from other countries with the proper authorizations.

Industry insiders expect that if cannabis is reclassified, demand and interest in marijuana research will grow because physical (or perceived) barriers will be removed.

“It’ll make researchers within universities or hospitals or even private companies better-armed to say, ‘We should be doing this, and we can be doing this,’” said attorney Eric Berlin, leader of the U.S. and global cannabis teams at the law firm Dentons to MJBizDaily.

The proverbial ball is now in the DEA’s court to review.

Read more about the announcement here.

Career Advice

It’s graduation season, and some of this year’s commencement speakers are going to tell young graduates to find a job they love so they never work a day in their life, follow their passion or some other advice that could be plastered on a motivational poster.

I always look for something different, something more honest, and this piece from Dan Cable fits the bill. Cable, an author and professor of organizational behavior, tells people to instead “Follow your blisters.”

Cable goes on to explain:

"A blister appears when something wears at you — and even chafes you a bit — but you keep getting drawn back to it. What I like about the phrase is that it implies something about perseverance and struggling through tasks even though they are not always blissful. “Follow your blisters” makes me ask myself the question, “What kind of work do I find myself coming back to again and again, even when I don’t succeed right away, when it seems like it’s taking too long to make progress, or when I get discouraged?”

I like this because Cable doesn’t shy away from the toiling, the frustration or the insecurity of “Am I any good at this?” Instead, he focuses on hobbies, interests and the gravitational pull we sometimes feel.

I think these are better markers because life isn’t usually sunshine and rainbows, but we do find pockets of sun that, if we’re lucky enough, we can bask in for a while.

Read the rest of Cable’s missive here.

Workplace Disclosures

I like those drawings with icebergs that remind us we only know what’s going on with other people at the surface. We only know what they want to share with us.

I know many people who are or who have struggled to conceive children, and I know a little about how taxing and all-consuming the process can be. I also know how important fertility coverage is to new or existing employees, as a single round of in vitro fertilization (IVF) can cost around $25,000-$35,000.

One executive decided to share her story about infertility on LinkedIn. She writes:

“I went to work every day and did my job—I smiled, brought a positive attitude, traveled where I was needed, went above and beyond—and my co-workers hadn’t a clue of what I was going through.

“They didn’t know that...

  • I felt like an utter failure.
  • I went home every night and cried.
  • I was pumped full of hormones, wreaking havoc on my body and mind.
  • I spent most of my frere time at doctor appointments, often for invasive procedures.
  • I was clinically depressed because of my infertility.”

Why am I sharing this story with EHS Today readers? Because we know that people are at greater risk of accident or injury when they are distracted and not feeling their best. Her colleagues may not have noticed that she was struggling, especially if she maintained a high-performance level and masked her emotions with a smile. But clearly, she was—and she didn't feel psychologically safe enough to bring her authentic self to work.

I’m not advocating for people to share things they aren’t comfortable sharing or to require disclosure of sensitive health information. But I am advocating for a supportive and safe workplace where people have access to the resources they need to help them feel better as a person first and foremost.

This executive was brave enough to share her story, and many other women in the workplace have echoed similar sentiments. I encourage you to read the LinkedIn post and an extended interview with the executive here.

About the Author

Nicole Stempak

Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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