Strict drug policies are appropriate for some companies, but entrepreneurs running startups are exploring progressive, marijuana-friendly policies. Some offices are even marijuana-friendly.

As marijuana legalization slowly passes state by state and lawmakers discuss national reform, companies are calling into question prohibition-era policies like employee drug testing.

Mark Williams, cofounder of California-based vaporizer manufacturer company Firefly, says his company has a non-policy drug policy.

"We don't have a drug policy, I advocate personal autonomy," Williams says. "We are all adults here, so let's act like adults. We've never had a problem."

Williams, who used to work for Apple as a designer, says he is not interested in restricting his employees' lives. He says Silicon Valley as a whole does not drug test employees, except for military and defense contractors. 

"When it comes to making iPhones, it is detrimental to your company to drug test employees," Williams says, half in jest. 

When it comes to Firefly's culture, Williams and cofounder Sasha Robinson place no restrictions on their employees. Firefly is designed to vaporize tobacco, but the engineers test "any plant or herb," he says, from sage, oregano, and even marijuana and coffee. 

"Our goal is to foster a humane work environment," Williams says.

Kyle Sherman, the CEO and cofounder of Denver-based marijuana compliance and payment software company Flowhub, says he does not have a drug policy and would never test any of his employees.

"We allow consumption, so long as people get work done. We do not drug test. We believe if you hire great people they will do great work," Sherman says. "We live in a free country and we are not going to tell you what you can and cannot do with your body, that's not our job as employers."

Flowhub has 20 employees, almost all of them are Millennials. The company has about 100 clients, all of which are legal dispensaries and grow facilities looking to stay compliant under state law.

"Millennials love autonomy, why would we squash creativity by forcing them to live a certain way," Sherman says.

Flowhub's philosophy is that with freedom comes great ideas. He believes corporate control hurts morale and hampers a fast-paced, autonomous work environment where everyone is responsible for themselves.

Every Wednesday, at promptly 4:20 p.m., Sherman and co-founder Chase Wiseman call the team to the conference room and pass out edibles and microbrews for a mid-week "recharging session."

"We all get on the same page, brainstorm and talk about the status of the company," Sherman says. "It's a phenomenal, creative process that involves everyone in the company."

At MassRoots, the cannabis social network based in Denver, it is not unusual to have marijuana and team meetings go hand-in-hand. The company recently filed with Nasdaq in hopes to be the first marijuana company on the stock exchange.

Co-founder and CEO Isaac Dietrich, has been known to host smoke and brainstorm sessions at his apartment. (The idea for the company came to him and his co-founders when they were high in college.)

"At MassRoots, we allow our employees to consume cannabis during work hours if they would like and some do take advantage of that policy," Dietrich says. "We trust that our employees exercise good judgment and believe in creating a highly-talented and highly-autonomous culture. Some people are more creative when they use cannabis and others, it slows them down. So, we leave this decision up to each individual."

Published on: Apr 22, 2016