August 8, 2019 – Today, California NORML announces a fundraising campaign to support its efforts to protect the employment rights of cannabis consumers in California. All donations made to the campaign through Labor Day (September 2 will be doubled by a matching donor, and a fundraising party will be held on Sunday, September 1 in Orinda.
California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, and adult recreational use in 2016, yet Californians can lose job opportunities, or be fired from their jobs, for off-the-clock use of cannabis, even with a recommendation from a doctor.
A survey being conducted by Cal NORML has found, of nearly 500 respondents in California:
- 20-26% have been denied employment due to their cannabis use
- 10-14% have lost a job because of cannabis use
- 47-57% are fearful of missing job opportunities because they use cannabis
- 40% have stopped using cannabis due to drug testing by their employer or physician
- 22-28% have increased their use of opioids or other medications due to drug testing.
A recent New York Times story, which also appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, profiled three California women who use cannabis and the impact that employment discrimination has had on their careers.
Fourteen other states have laws on the books protecting the employment rights of medical marijuana users, and New York City and Nevada have just passed laws barring denying employment over pre-employment drug screens for marijuana. In the newly issued Medical Cannabis Access Report Card from Americans for Safe Access, California has only a B+ grade, scoring 0 out of 5 points on protecting employment rights of medical patients.
Cal NORML was able to get a bill introduced last year (AB 2069 – Bonta) to end employment discrimination against medical marijuana users in California, but it was blocked in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. With recent developments and increased media attention to the issue, the push is on for at least one bill to be introduced and passed in next year’s legislative session.
California NORML, the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana, is entirely supported by memberships and donations it generates from California.