The surprising reason so many people get high at work

The surprising reason so many people get high at work

VicesJuly 05, 2019 By Reilly Capps

A crazy huge number of Americans say they've gotten high at work: 16 percent. 

Even more surprising is the most common reason. 

"To increase my productivity" is the most frequent motivation for working blazed, according to a survey. Nearly two in five red-eyed employees said productivity is why they got high. These people said they used vape pens and edibles, got high in their car and on their lunch break, in the office parking lot and in a co-worker's car. And a quarter said they smoked because their job requires intense focus. 

These answers flip upside-down the stereotype about about lazy, brainless, absent-minded zombies. And as more workplaces drop drug testing, America might find itself with a more industrious workforce that also enjoys its snack breaks more than ever. 

To get this data, 1,000 people were surveyed by Remedy Review, a website that covers and promotes CBD and other natural medicines. 

To be fair, a lot of survey respondents say they use weed for the stereotypical, Cheech and Chong, Afroman reasons: "to help pass the time," because their jobs "require little focus," because "I don't care about my job." 

Which is weird. Marijuana both makes you focus more and zone out? Helps both bored clock-punchers and engaged Type-A's? 

Yes — pot apparently has paradoxical effects. A quarter of these cotton-mouthed worker bees said the weed made them "more productive"; 17 percent said it made them "less productive." Sixty percent said it didn't affect productivity either way. 

Weed is a weird drug. 

graph - reasons for getting high at work

For whatever motivation, stoney work is on the rise. In 2014, about 10 percent of people had punched the clock lifted, according to a survey by Mashable. Still a high number. But if this new data is right, there's been a 60 percent rise in red-eyed employees in the last five years — maybe not coincidentally, the same number of years since weed was legalized in Colorado and Washington. 

graph - increase in number of people getting high at work

Not all workplaces are equally medicated. The recent survey by Remedy Review is full of data on who labors faded. The most stoned jobs were, in order: hotel-restaurant-hopitality, construction, the arts, telecommunication, and advertising. Blue collar jobs are stonier than white collar jobs. Six percent of workers in medicine have been high on the job. Possibly your brain surgeon. 

States where pot is illegal have nearly as many high workers as legal states. More than half of high workers sparked up at least a few times a week. 

These surveys track what we're hearing about weed legalization. While teen and kid use hasn't risen, adult use is rising. And adults aren't just keeping their drug use at home. The age of the stoned worker is upon us. And most of those high workers think that's a good thing for their employers.