So, one of the seemingly unstoppable trends in the United States today is the increasing legalization of marijuana.

Per an article on Wikipedia, as of today, 31 of the 50 United States have legalized marijuana for medical use.  Furthermore, nine states have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Yet, some organizations do not honor the legality of marijuana at the state level.  For example, the National Football League includes marijuana on its banned list of substances.  Players who test positive for marijuana on two occasions are subject to suspension.

In procurement, we sometimes require suppliers’ employees to be drug free.  In such situations, if our suppliers’ employees are subject to random drug tests per our contracts with them and an employee fails the test, there are consequences spelled out in those contracts.  The employee may be subject to dismissal.  The contract may be terminated.  Or, any other host of consequences could apply.

But, as marijuana becomes increasingly accepted, this requires closer scrutiny of these supplier requirements and begs many questions.  Should marijuana be excluded from your supplier code of conduct‘s banned substances?  Would contractual consequences apply if a supplier employee tested positive for marijuana but was using it for medical purposes?  Should legality of recreational use of marijuana in the supplier’s state influence whether a supplier’s employees may use it or not?

Sometimes, procurement requirements need to be stricter than the law in a supplier’s jurisdiction.  Other times, local law is an appropriate guideline for supplier behavioral expectations.

But, there are two unflinching premises behind any decisions related to marijuana use in the supply chain or any other developing trend in society:

  1. The world is changing:  Procurement needs to continually re-evaluate its practices based on where the world is today and where it is headed in the future.
  2. Your organization’s values should drive the values you require of your supply base.  Your organization may be a strong supporter of legalization.  Or, to the contrary, your organization may want its supply chain 100% free of substance abuse.  Either way, your procurement standards should never be in opposition to your organization’s values.

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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