A Third of Programmers Use Marijuana While Working, With Many Creative Benefits, Study Finds

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According to a new study, more than a third of software programmers say they’ve used marijuana at work, and many find it helps promote creativity and get into the “programming zone.”

Researchers from the University of Michigan said anecdotal evidence suggests people in programming are more likely to use cannabis at work. So they decided to conduct the “first large-scale survey” on the subject, asking 803 developers to detail how marijuana comes into play in their work.

A key motivation for the study was the fact that drug testing policies remain common in the programming industry, which may contribute to “hiring shortages for certain jobs.”

This is even the case at the federal level, the study’s authors note, citing comments from former FBI Director James Comey, who said in 2014 that he was interested in easing employment policies. around cannabis because some potential agents “want to smoke weed on the way to the interview.”

“This ban on cannabis use in software engineering has contributed to a widely reported hiring shortage for some U.S. government programming jobs,” said the to study said.

A total of 35% of survey participants said they had “tried cannabis while programming or doing another software engineering-related task.” Seventy-three percent of this group reported using marijuana while working in the past year.

The study, titled “Hashing It Out: A Survey of Programmers’ Cannabis Usage, Perception, and Motivation” and published this month in Cornell University’s arXiv, also looked at frequency of use among those who reported having used marijuana while engineering.

Fifty-three percent said they used cannabis while programming at least 12 times, 27% said they used it at least twice a week, and 4% said they used it while working almost daily.

The study authors wanted to better understand why programmers also chose to use marijuana. And they found that the most common tasks people used marijuana for were brainstorming, prototyping, coding and testing.

“Overall, we found that programmers were more likely to report enjoyment or programming-improvement motivations than well-being motivations: the most common reasons were “to make programming-related tasks more enjoyable (61%) and ‘to think of more creative programming solutions’ (53%),” the study found. “In fact, all reasons for improving programming were selected by at least 30 % of Respondents In contrast, reasons related to general well-being (such as alleviating pain and anxiety) were all cited by less than 30% of respondents. motivates some cannabis use while programming, it is not the most common motivation.

Although there is a noticeable prevalence of cannabis use among programmers, even most of those who do not use marijuana support reform, the study found.

“Ninety-one percent of our participants say that marijuana use should be legal for both recreational and medical use, compared to 60% of the general US population in 2021,” the authors wrote.

The study also found that “cannabis use during programming occurs at similar rates for programming employees, managers, and students despite differences in perception and visibility of cannabis.”

“Our findings have implications for drug policy programming and motivate future research on cannabis use in programming,” the study states.

Drug testing policies have become a hot topic as more states embrace legalization.

After New York opted to end prohibition this year, for example, the state Department of Labor announced that most employers are no longer allowed to test most workers for cannabis.

Amazon recently said its earlier decision to end cannabis testing will also be retroactive, meaning former workers and applicants who were punished for testing positive for THC will have their employment eligibility restored.

Both Senate and House lawmakers have included language in recent appropriations reports calling for a review of federal agencies’ employment policies regarding the personal use of cannabis. The House version passed in July, while the Senate Democrats’ report was released in October.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a memo to federal agencies this year that admitting to past marijuana use should not automatically bar people from federal employment. .

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has come under fire after it was reported that it fired or otherwise punished dozens of staffers who admitted to previously using marijuana. It came after the White House instituted a policy of granting waivers to certain staff members who used cannabis.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki later said that no one in the White House had been fired for “marijuana use years ago,” and no one had been fired “due to marijuana use. occasional or infrequent in the previous 12 months”. However, she still refused to talk about the extent to which staff were suspended or placed in a remote work program because they were honest about their history with marijuana on a federal form part of the background check process.

Researcher uses Reddit to find out what kinds of marijuana posts influenced legalization attitudes

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