Office Spaced

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USA Today reports on medical marijuana uses whose employers grudgingly accept their habit.

Irvin Rosenfeld's employer, Newbridge Securities, is resolute in its support of his on-the-job use of medical marijuana. Company officials say they aren't concerned about legal liability issues because they say Rosenfeld's use of the drug doesn't have an impact on his ability to work. He also discloses to every client that he uses the drug.

"He's a quality stockbroker, and he does a great job," says Phillip Semenick, executive vice president and branch manager. "But there is a stigma to it. Some people are going to look at it and say, 'Here's a guy smoking pot at work? How can he do that?' "

Rosenfeld's marijuana use also has led to moments that Semenick and Rosenfeld have found comical. Marijuana "has a distinct smell," Semenick says. "The mailman or someone coming into the building will stop and notice." He adds that the company is not concerned about how the smell of marijuana in its office might affect its image.

The takeaway should obviously be: "Hey, this guy is able to perform as a stockbroker because he uses marijuana to deal with pain." Read on and the larger story is how intolerant most other businesses are.

Read Reason's coverage of drug policy here.

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  1. I think this is why the drug warriors are fighting to the death over medical marijuana. They really don’t think that sick people using the drug are going to be harmed. Just the opposite, they know once people are exposed to the drug and see how benign it is, it will be a lot harder to justify not letting everyone use it. Once sick people start using marijuana and are able to go to their jobs and live normal lives and don’t move on to harder drugs or become reprobate addicts it will become pretty obvious how stupid the prohibition is.

  2. …the smell of marijuana in its office…

    Marijuana is just a distraction from the big issue: This guy is allowed to smoke in his office!

    Actually I think there’s a lot of jobs that marijuana could be considered ‘performance enhancing’. I wouldn’t have guessed stock broker would be one of them. But any kind of meticulous work where you need to focus on what you are doing at the moment.

  3. John,

    Ditto with gay marriage here in the Bay State.

    The opponents know that the sky isn’t going to fall. Public opinio is turning against them every day, as people see and deal with gay people in their actual lives, rather than as the villians in propaganda.

    Warren,

    Writer. Bassist.

  4. Warren,

    There is a famous economics experiment done in Canada back in the 1970s. What they did was take a group of volunteers and keep them in a controlled environment for six months. Within the environment they created a controlled micro economy where the people made these woven belts that they then used to buy food and luxuries. Half of the people were allowed to smoke all of the marijuana they wanted, the other half wasn’t. The idea was to see the drug’s effect if any on productivity. The results indicated that the stoned half actually were more productive than the non-stoned half because making belts was just so damned boring. They didn’t get the complete the full six months because the stoned half started giving the unstoned half marijuana.

    I think you are right. I for one could definitely be more productive at a boring repetitive job a little bit stoned.

  5. To Warren’s point,

    professional video gaming is one place where marijuana is definitely performance enhancing…but perhaps like steroids, will be banned.

  6. I don’t doubt that Joe. Ultimately, whether the couple living next door to you has a marriage license ultimately makes no difference to you.

  7. Right, John.

    Just to them.

  8. I once spent a couple of summers on the assembly line (making carburetors, so you know how long ago that must have been) stoned to the gills. No question it improved the quality of my work. Kept me focused on what was in front of me, and an amazing attention to detail. The big drawback was the time dilation thing. I’d work for two hours every ten minutes.

  9. I know a small-town TV news director who was high for every newscast he directed for nearly 30 years. It put him in exactly the right frame of mind to time the newscast and deal with the inevitable fuck-ups that come.

  10. Maybe that explains this story.

  11. I keep asking: Why do companies need random urine tests to spot users?

    If MJ and other drugs are as bad as the drug warriors say, wouldn’t an employee using them stand out enough to at least be recognized as a user?

    If you can’t tell which employees are using without testing, does it really matter?

    Yeah, yeah. “Sends wrong message” “for the children” “illegal is illegal” etc.

  12. I work high every day. But, I’m an advertising creative so it’s kind of expected.

  13. LarryA,

    You can’t tell users. What do you think the billions of dollars the cocaine cartels make all comes from crack whores? No way. Millions of hard working middle and upper middle America types use drugs and are often no worse the wear for it. Sure there are reporbate addicts who end up with nothing but there are also people who use drugs for years recreationally and unless they get really unlucky and get caught by the cops never suffer any ill effects. It is a complex story that the drug warriors don’t want told.

  14. Writer. Bassist.

    I remember in ’98 an Olympic snowboarder tested positive for pot, and had a medal taken away from him. At the time, I thought that was unfair, because it wasn’t performance enhancing. But then, I’ve never snowboarded, so I wouldn’t really know.

  15. BakedPenguin,
    As someone whose snowboarded and has a lot of friends in the scene, mj use is part of the culture. In fact I remarked that snowboarding is probably the only olympic sport where mj IS performance enhancing.

  16. I meant who’s not whose.

  17. Actually he got it back.

    It’s good to know that the world is not completely full of total asholes.

  18. Quote:

    “The Olympic Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) voted unanimously to reinstate Rebagliati’s gold medal. The Court ruled that the IOC did not have an agreement with the International Ski Federation regarding marijuana use and therefore did not have the authority to strip the medal.”

  19. I once had a Professional Rodeo Association calf roper tell me he always roped high because it made the calves heels move slower.

    A lot of drug use in the PRA from my understanding.

  20. “A lot of drug use in the PRA from my understanding.”

    I can’t imagine getting on a 2000 lbs bull without some kind of drugs being involved. So that doesn’t surprise me. Also those guys are constantly injured and have to work to eat, I would imagine the pain pill use is higher than in the NFL.

  21. Well hey, I’m a big MJ booster. I’ve often commented on how WOD critics should stop saying “while I don’t support drug use” and start saying “responcible drug use is life enhancing”. However, the worst thing we could do is go too far with this. Being high can be beneficial in performing some tasks. But it can make you think you’re doing better at a whole lot of other tasks. Just ask any musician who has had his god-like virtuoso solo played back the next day.

    My theory is; the trick to using MJ as a performance enhancer, is to practice sober. You have to put in the long hours practicing and studying, training your brain, sober. Then after the neural pathways have become well grooved, you can toke up and ‘go to eleven’.

  22. Mo – Given the boarders I’ve seen, that the sport has a high usage rate isn’t shocking. Plus, it’s a young person’s sport – which will also skew usage rates.
    Isaac – good to know.

  23. Hey, that’s the guy who was in the drug war episode of Bullshit! They have some great shots of him smoking doobies in front of the Capitol and the White House.

  24. Warren,

    “My theory is; the trick to using MJ as a performance enhancer, is to practice sober.”

    That goes for writing, too. You’ve got to do your research and outlining the hard way. Save up all the creative part for the end.

    They go into the computer lab (there these horrible little rooms they used to have on college campuses), and go nuts.

  25. They go into the computer lab (there these horrible little rooms they used to have on college campuses), and go nuts.

    Oy. Bad choice of words.

  26. …the smell of marijuana in its office…

    Has this guy never heard of pot brownies? Bhang Lhassa?

  27. “I once had a Professional Rodeo Association calf roper tell me he always roped high because it made the calves heels move slower.”

    that’s classic.

    aaaaaaaaaaaand theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyrrreeeee ooooooffffffffffffffffffffff [fade out]

  28. Dude is smoking in the office!?

    (Then) go into the computer lab… and go nuts

    Too soon!

  29. I’ll bet Mr. Rosenfeld goes long on Doritos every day.

  30. The smoking analogy is so ironic. Some drugs are politically correct, others are the most evil substance yet discovered. There is no cohesive philosophy behind any of this. Just roll the dice to see what we’ll ban today.

  31. Aahh, good ol’ Mr. Rosenfeld. One of only 7 recipients of the US Govt. weed.

    He is the best face for cannabis going. He is successful, clean cut, white(it shouldn’t matter but it does), and he doesn’t even have to taint his image by getting his weed from a dealer or a dispensary as the Govt. mails it to him every month. Even Montel isn’t that squeeky clean.

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