Definition - What does Zero Tolerance mean?
Zero tolerance is a widely used expression in various organizations, businesses, and institutions that refers to policies that essentially ban the presence of something, which is most often dangerous goods, weapons, and/or harmful substances like drugs.
Varying degrees of punishment are often in place for anyone caught violating a zero tolerance policy. For example, if someone is caught with something they are not supposed to have, they are either given a warning, kicked off the premises, barred from future events, or issued a monetary fine.
Hydrolife explains Zero Tolerance
In the broadest sense, zero-tolerance policies, which are a component of criminology, are an integral part of the formal and informal policing systems around the world. While they often ban the presence of drugs and other harmful items at events, the term can also apply to unacceptable behaviors, such as zero-tolerance for bullying, and zero-tolerance for workplace harassment.
In cannabis culture, zero tolerance policies abound. Cannabis use is often forbidden at work, school, church, most public places, concerts, special events, and so on. However, due to a growing acceptance of medical marijuana, zero-tolerance policies regarding cannabis use are being re-examined in many states. In addition, zero-tolerance policies are tough to enforce during, for example, busy events.
Zero tolerance policies also ban people from driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. To issue punishment, a police officer would simply have to refer to the policy, which is essentially state law.
In the United States, zero-tolerance drug policies were originally designed as a part of the War on Drugs under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. The goal was to curb drug use in the country by going after people who were in possession of cannabis, thereby limiting the amount of users, which would then limit the amount of suppliers.
The term zero tolerance is also used in marketing and branding material. For example, Ed Rosenthal's Zero Tolerance is an organic pesticide product common among cannabis growers.