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California Bill Would Protect Cannabis Users From Employment Discrimination

California employers can be barred from discriminating in opposition to workers for hashish use whereas off the job beneath laws launched final week. The measure, AB 2188, was launched within the California Meeting by Democratic Meeting Member Invoice Quirk on February 15.

If handed, AB 2188 would finish discrimination based mostly on drug testing for hashish metabolites, that are non-psychoactive substances that may be detected in an individual’s bodily fluids for as much as a number of weeks after they’ve consumed hashish. 

“The invoice would make it illegal for California employers to penalize or discriminate in opposition to an individual when making selections about hiring, termination, or different side of employment if the discrimination is predicated on the particular person’s off-duty hashish use or the presence of non-psychoactive hashish metabolites revealed in an employer-mandated drug screening,” Lauren Mendelsohn, an lawyer with Omar Figueroa Regulation in Sebastol, California, defined in an electronic mail to Persistent Information.

The laws, nonetheless, has a number of limitations. Employers who’re required to observe federal drug-testing mandates are exempt. AB 2188 doesn’t require employers to allow workers to be excessive whereas working.

“The invoice doesn’t authorize workers to make use of or be impaired by hashish whereas on the job, nor does it prohibit employers from administering impairment or chemical assessments to find out whether or not an worker is impaired or has an energetic presence of THC of their system,” Mendelsohn famous. “Employers who’re required to conduct screening assessments for non-psychoactive hashish metabolites, or who would lose federal advantages if they didn’t, could achieve this.”

Quirk’s invoice is supported by the California chapter of the Nationwide Group for the Reform of Marijuana Legal guidelines (Cal NORML). In an announcement, the hashish coverage reform advocacy group stated that “testing or threatening to check bodily fluids for hashish metabolites is the commonest method that employers harass and discriminate in opposition to workers who lawfully use hashish within the privateness of their very own properties.” Cal NORML famous {that a} survey being performed on-line exhibits that 33 % of respondents have been denied  employment on account of testing optimistic for marijuana, whereas 60 % have stopped utilizing hashish due to drug testing by their employer or physician.

Defending the Rights of Hashish Customers

Legal professional S. Edward Wicker of Wicker Regulation in San Diego believes that AB 2188 is important to guard the rights afforded Californians by hashish legalization and famous that optimistic drug assessments for hashish use usually are not an efficient methodology of figuring out if an worker is impaired on the job.

“This laws is required to deliver equity and science-based authorized safety for California employees. Present California regulation permits adults to eat and possess hashish,” Wicker, who can also be the director of San Diego NORML, wrote in an electronic mail. “This liberty is in danger when employers use a non-scientific take a look at to discriminate in opposition to employees for hashish use. Hashish regulation is evolving from prohibition as what nonetheless exists on the federal stage to a coverage of legalization supported by a majority of People. Insurance policies based mostly on prohibition depend on inertia and non-scientific knowledge.”

Cal NORML famous that research have proven that off-the-job hashish use shouldn’t be related to a rise in work-related accidents or accidents and that jurisdictions with liberalized marijuana legal guidelines are related to better workforce participation, larger wages, decrease charges of worker absenteeism, and declines in employees’ compensation claims.

“Testing bodily fluids for hashish metabolites is one other instance of a non-scientific strategy to hashish coverage,” Wicker continued. “The presence of hashish metabolites shouldn’t be indicative of whether or not an individual is beneath the affect of hashish. An individual can take a look at optimistic for hashish metabolites days to weeks after any hashish use. That is no indication of any impairment for any work-related goal aside from arbitrary discrimination.”

5 states together with New York and New Jersey have handed legal guidelines to guard the employment rights of leisure hashish customers and related laws was launched within the Colorado legislature earlier this month. Laws to guard medical marijuana sufferers has been handed in 21 states.

“It’s excessive time California protected its employees’ rights additionally,” stated Dale Gieringer, the director of California NORML.