UPDATE 2020: Assemblyman Rob Bonta introduced AB 2355, a bill sponsored by Cal NORML to end employment discrimination against Californians using medical cannabis. AB 2355 would make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer or other entity to refuse to hire or employ a person, or to discriminate against an employee, because of the employee’s use of medical cannabis. The bill would grant people who use medical cannabis while employed the same rights to reasonable accommodation and the associated interactive process as are provided to workers prescribed other legal drugs. Also see: New Bill Seeks to Protect Pot Patients EmploymentCannabis Now, 3/2020
Unfortunately, COVID-19 usurped much of the legislative process in 2020 and AB 2355 did not advance. We are working towards re-introducing an employment rights for cannabis consumers bill for 2021.
As we feared, one of the most frequently asked questions we have been getting since Prop. 64 passed legalizing adult marijuana use in California is, “Am I now protected against drug testing on my job?”
Sadly, the answer is most often, “No.” Prop. 64 specifically allows employers to continue to discriminate against their workers, even when their marijuana use is during nonworking hours. In California, even medical marijuana patients are not protected against employment discrimination. California’s Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that Prop. 215 does not grant workers’ rights, and a law passed to change that in 2008 was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger.
Nineteen states plus Washington, DC have made it illegal for an employer to not hire or to discriminate against either a job applicant or employee who uses medical marijuana, under certain conditions. Some also protect tenants’ rights, parental rights, and others.
Cal NORML is making it a priority to advance legislation to protect workers’ rights in California.Employment drug testing has been shown in federal studies not to improve worker safety, but it’s a great way to discriminate against cannabis consumers. We hope to sponsor a bill that will truly make marijuana legal for all adults and educate unions and employers about the needlessness of drug testing.
Join the Campaign! We will need you to lobby your elected officials to introduce and pass a bill.
NFL’s new CBA will eliminate suspensions for positive marijuana tests, limit the testing period to the first two weeks of training camp and raise the threshold for a positive test from 35 to 150 nanograms of THC. 3/20
Federal Court Rules In Favor Of Worker Rejected For Medical Marijuana Use 9/18
A Connecticut woman’s rights under that state’s medical marijuana law were violated when a company refused to hire her on the basis of her legal cannabis use, and a lawsuit seeking damages against her would-be employer may proceed, a federal judge ruled. In 2016, Katelin Noffsinger filed suit against Bride Brook Health and Rehabilitation Center, a federal contractor, after a job offer was rescinded following a positive test for cannabis on a pre-employment drug test. Noffsinger had accepted a management-level position with the firm, which then scheduled a drug test. Prior to the test, Noffsinger informed Bride Brook that she was a qualified cannabis patient under Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act, and used the drug—namely, synthetic marijuana pills, consumed in the evening—to treat post-traumatic stress disorder following a 2012 car crash.