With the legalisation of both medical and recreational marijuana in Europe, the demand for cannabis cultivation workers is rising quickly. So it is essential to define the health and safety requirements for those employed in the cultivation industry.
The cannabis job market is still growing and immature in Europe. However, recently there is a trend towards legalisation of medical and recreational cannabis in several European countries. As a result, there is increased interest in the cannabis industry, including in terms of cultivation and jobs in it.
Risks of cannabis workers
Cannabis cultivation workers face similar occupational health hazards as agricultural workers. For instance, herbicides and organic dust can affect them. However, they may also come into contact with large quantities of bacteria, endotoxin, and fungal spores, all of which can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. In addition, the cannabis plant itself causes allergies.
The University of California determined the most urgently required research, policy, and training initiatives based on probable risks. They tried to categorise and discuss injuries and illnesses of workers in the cannabis cultivation industry. During the presentations and discussions at the meeting, four topics came up:
- workplace hazards,
- health effects,
- training, and education.
The first topic to cover is workplace hazards that require quick attention. These include unsafe use of trimming machines, pesticide exposures, practices leading to allergen exposure and wildfires.
Moreover, the health impacts are of the greatest concern right away. These include respiratory illnesses, violence-related injuries at work, chemical exposures, and physical exposures including electrical risks.
Pesticide use, machine use, machine maintenance, and respiratory and allergy exposure are the training topics that are most urgently needed. Using social media to adapt training materials to the unique culture of the cannabis sector and creating resources specifically for cannabis work are crucial. Moreover, materials for non-English speakers are required, particularly in the case of Europe.
The legality difficulties raised solely apply to the US market and are not entirely relevant to the European market.
Cannabis cultivation jobs – future
Despite rising demand and cannabis workers opportunities, the legal and regulatory limits surrounding cannabis use and cultivation in Europe persist as significant challenges for the industry. Cannabis usage remains illegal in many nations, which makes it challenging for businesses to establish proper standards and hire qualified personnel. To identify and address the health and safety concerns of cannabis workers, coordinated advocacy efforts must be made in addition to collaborative research activities.
Research and training are of critical importance to prevent occupational illnesses and injuries among cannabis employees, particularly in the developing European market.