Governor Vetoes Employment Rights Legislation

Sacramento, September 30, 2008 – Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed Assemblyman Mark Leno’s bill to protect workers’ right to use medical marijuana.

The bill, AB 2279, would have made it illegal for employers to discriminate against workers in non-safety-sensitive jobs for using marijuana as medicine. In his veto message, the governor said, “I am concerned with interference in employment decisions as they relate to marijuana use. Employment protection was not a goal of the initiative as passed by voters in 1996.”

Prop. 215 sponsors disagree. “The intent of 215 was to treat marijuana like other legal pharmaceutical drugs,” says Prop 215 co-author Dale Gieringer of California NORML.

AB 2279 was intended to overturn a Cal. Supreme Court ruling, Ross v RagingWire, that found that 215 did not protect workers against arbitrary discrimination by drug urine testing. Employers failed to present any evidence that off-the-job marijuana use presented any safety risks.

Gov. Schwarzenegger, a former recreational pot smoker, has vetoed every marijuana reform bill that has come to his desk.

Photo: Schwarzenegger enjoys a joint in the film Pumping Iron.

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