Cali OKs Home Cannabis Consumption for Employees

As reported by KTLA, California might soon be the seventh state in the country to ensure that no one loses their jobs if they use marijuana when they’re not working.

California OKs bill to protect workers who use pot at home

State lawmakers passed on Tuesday an act that will stop employers from severing employees who fail a specific kind of test for drugs that do not highlight if an individual is high or not, but if the individual has ever used marijuana in the last few days.

These tests depend on hair or urine samples. Furthermore, test for the metabolites is produced by the body after they break down THC which is the principal psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. The Mayo Clinic claims that metabolites can stay within the body of an individual for weeks following the use of marijuana, meaning people are able to fail a test for drugs even if they’re not impaired.

The law will prevent employees from being penalized for being unable to pass these kinds of tests. Employers may still punish staff for failing other kinds of tests that use saliva and can better determine if someone is already high.

The bill is now on the table of the Democratic Governor. Gavin Newsom, has until September 30 to decide whether or not to adopt it as law. It will take effect January. 1st, 2024.

“Nothing in this bill would allow someone to come (to work) high,” said Assemblymember Bill Quirk, a Democrat from Hayward and the creator of the bill.

California was among the states in the United States to legally allow medical marijuana in 1996 and was among the first states to allow recreational marijuana in the year 2016. However, the state has been slow in passing laws that protect users who consume marijuana on their own.

Six additional states — Nevada, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Montana, and Rhode Island – have a law that protects workers’ right to consume marijuana recreationally, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. 21 states are governed by laws that protect patients who take medical marijuana from discrimination.

The unions say it’s not just to punish employees who do something legal in the context of their job and does not interfere with their duties at work.

“Using outdated cannabis tests only causes employees to feel unsafe and harassed at work, it does not increase workplace safety,” said Matt Bell, secretary-treasurer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324.

But it was there was a California Chamber of Commerce opposed the measure due to the fact that it could “create a protected status for marijuana use” in the state law, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace.

“Put simply: marijuana use is not the same as protecting workers against discrimination based on race or national origin,” the chamber addressed in a letter sent to legislators.

Louis Levey is the Content Success Manager and Founder at No Strings Content. He's passionate about helping cannabis businesses use content to attract, educate, and convert audiences. His hometown is Boca Raton, Florida, but he currently lives and works remotely in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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