Chico Chamber Hosting Cannabis Panel
By LAURA URSENY | firstname.lastname@example.org | Chico Enterprise-Record
June 16, 2018 at 8:30 pm
"CHICO — The Chico Chamber has put out notice of a panel session two months ahead of time, but already reservations are pouring in from local employers.
“Cannabis: Panel Q&A for Employers” is about California’s new cannabis law ushered in by Proposition 64, and what employers need to know. It’s also an opportunity for employers to ask questions of experts in labor laws and cannabis.
Chamber CEO Katie Simmons knew the workshop was going to be well received just because of all the questions the chamber has received since Prop. 64 passed.
The session is noon to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Chico Community Center, 545 Vallombrosa Ave. There’s no cost but there’s a space limit. Reservations are required.
The chamber is hosting Holden Law Group, including human resources, insurance and employment law speakers. Topics include “reasonable suspicion,” “safety-sensitive positions,” Department of Transportation versus non-DOT requirements, impairment testing and more.
Simmons was not surprised when 17 reservations popped in via email the first day the session was announced. The main room at the Chico Community Center can hold several hundred and Simmons expects to fill it.
The panel event came as the result of a subcommittee that the chamber put together earlier in the year, responding to all the questions regarding cannabis in the workplace.
“Cannabis is a big topic. Our responsibility is to understand the impact on business, and provide resources to get questions answered,” she told this publication in March.
“Businesses want to make sure they’re doing it right,” said Simmons.
For employers, impairment is an issue because drug influence can’t be tested like alcohol, so safety is a huge concern, she said then.
Simmons said the chamber heard from businesses during the regular business walks, during community safety meetings, and from members in general. Concern was being voiced at the California Chamber level as well, she said. The state chamber has produced a free white paper that covers Prop. 64’s effects on workplace policies and practices. It also includes recommendations from the state chamber. Employers can request a copy through the state chamber.
“No one has all the answers, so we’re facilitating the conversation and giving an opportunity to ask questions,” Simmons said.
Holden Law Group is based in Auburn and provides California employment law and HR consulting services.
“Our priority at this point is to make businesses aware,” Simmons said, especially the smaller firms. While larger companies have human resources departments and trade association publications, the small mom-and-pops don’t have access to those kinds of resources.
Simmons stressed the subcommittee started as an investigatory tool that wound up recommending the panel. While it is not active now, it could become so in the future, should other steps or a follow-up workshop be deemed necessary, she said.