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Taking weed breaks at work — where it’s allowed (and even encouraged)

In the grow room, marijuana glows under bright grow lights at the Marijuana Potency Monitoring Project at the University of Mississippi.

In the grow room, marijuana glows under bright grow lights at the Marijuana Potency Monitoring Project at the University of Mississippi.

At most offices in America, smoking a joint during your lunch break or eating cannabis-laced brownies at your desk would land you in HR.

But in some states, not only won’t you be punished — you might be rewarded.

Kyle Sherman and Chase Wiseman cofounded Flowhub, which provides software for the cannabis industry, in 2015. The Denver-based startup has been a weed-friendly workplace from day one.

“Our philosophy at Flowhub is to get s*** done,” said Sherman. “If it helps our employees get work done, then we don’t care if they consume at work.”

Sherman and Chase both consume marijuana at work, either in weekly brainstorming meetings or toward the end of the day.

“It definitely surfaces new ideas and a fresh take on things,” said Sherman.

While recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, smoking of any kind isn’t allowed in the building. So Flowhub’s 18 employees, most of them millennials, are free to bring in cannabis-infused edibles, sodas and juices.

So far, there haven’t been any negative outcomes.

“Our clients are some of the biggest firms in the cannabis industry,” said Sherman. “We have to be on point with our work. We’ve never had a problem yet.”

High There! and MassRoots are just across the street from each other in downtown Denver.

Both are social networking platforms for cannabis users.

High There! launched 10 months ago and has 150,000 active users. MassRoots, which launched in 2013, models itself as a Facebook for pot users and expects to cross 1 million users by 4/20.

Both startups allow weed at work.

“Being in Denver, we’re in the heart of the cannabis industry,” said Darren Roberts, cofounder of High There! “Cannabis is part of our culture.”

Still, Roberts said it’s not like his employees are constantly stoned at work. Similar to Flowhub, he said consumption typically happens later in the day or at brainstorming sessions.

“It has led us to breakthrough moments for our business,” he said. “So yes, it’s been very effective for us.”

MassRoots cofounder Isaac Dietrich schedules weekly rooftop smoke sessions at his apartment building. They’re meant for strategic planning and employee bonding.

“I thought up MassRoots when I was smoking weed in my college friend’s apartment,” said Dietrich, whose firm has 30 employees and has raised $4.4 million in funding.

“Our general philosophy is that we need to be as productive and creative as possible, everyday,” he said. “If cannabis facilitates that, then we’re allowing it.”

While pot-oriented businesses tend to be more open about their consumption, not all companies are eager to talk about it. Many startups fear it could hurt their chances with potential investors. And in states like California, pot is still only legal for medical purposes.

Brandon David is a sales executive with a San Francisco-based software firm (he declined to name the company) that has hundreds of customers, including many in the cannabis industry.

“It’s very well known that most of the employees here consume cannabis regularly during the work day,” he said.

David said he uses a cannabis vaporizer daily at work for medical reasons.

“There are so many daily challenges in a startup environment, and you need to press ahead,” he said. Pot helps him stay focused by managing his stress and anxiety. “Sometimes I get a second wind and I’ll put in a few more hours.”

David said it’s an open secret that many more businesses are embracing the notion of consuming pot at work.

“There definitely are far more that allow it than are willing to openly talk about it,” he said.

3 comments

  • James Hale

    Marijuana creates same “High” effect as Chocolate but less hazardous due to “Obesity” concerns’ and early childhood addictions’.”A receptor is a structure on the surface of a cell that interacts with certain chemicals. Receptors have different shapes, and thus interact with specific molecules. diTomaso describes this interaction like this: “the active compound will lock itself to the protein and that triggers a reaction inside the cell.” Cannabinoids are substances that act like cannabis, also known as marijuana. The active chemical in marijuana is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and there are receptors in the brain that bind THC. When THC binds to these receptors, the person feels “high.” Anandamide is a lipid that is normally found in the brain; it can bind to the same receptors as THC and thus produce a similar effect to “being high.”” The ONLY difference is Chocolate is already F.D.A. approved for children as well as adults’… but creates the same “High” . This is Neuroscience for “Dummies”. https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/choco.html

    • DAN GRAY

      So you’re saying a little weed would be acceptable for over the road truck drivers. Is that while they’re driving or just when they’re on break? I think we can all agree that what we need are more stoned truck drivers, doctors …… and airline pilots.

    • Al

      Um, no, pot is not like chocolate. Yeah, I know – chemicals react with receptors in the brain and blah blah blah. If someone asked me what smoking weed was like, I would NOT say “it’s like eating chocolate.”
      I’m all for marijuana, and I’m all for stating facts that make it seem less taboo in the public eye if it helps break down these stupid prohibitive laws. But “the ONLY difference between marijuana and chocolate is Chocolate is FDA approved” is a ridiculous statement and it’s misinformative to people who know nothing about pot.
      Here is a more accurate statement from the page you linked: “Eating a bar of chocolate will not make you feel giddy or ‘high.'” Come on, man.

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