California bill protects cannabis users from work discrimination

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2022 | Cannabis Law |

In February 2022, the California Assembly introduced legislation that would stop employers from penalizing employees and job applicants who use recreational marijuana outside of work.

Assembly Bill 2188

In 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, legalizing the use of recreational marijuana by adults 21 and up. However, the law does not provide job protections for employees who use cannabis while off duty. In fact, it specifically states that employers don’t have to accommodate workers who take the drug. That means that workers could potentially lose their jobs for using a legal substance on their day off.

Assembly Bill 2188 would make it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees and job applicants who use marijuana “off the job and away from the workplace.” It would also prohibit employers from penalizing workers who fail drug tests that detect nonpsychoactive cannabis metabolites in hair, urine or bodily fluids. According to the bill, these types of tests are outdated and do not accurately indicate an employee’s level of impairment.

The Assembly passed AB 2188 on May 26. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the bill in August. If it passes, the governor will have until Sept. 30 to sign or veto it.

Recreational marijuana laws nationwide

More and more states are passing recreational cannabis laws across the country. As of August 2022, 19 states, the District of Columbia and Guam have legalized the use of non-medical marijuana by adults. In addition, Connecticut, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have enacted laws protecting employees who use recreational cannabis outside work.

On April 1, the U.S. House passed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. If passed by the Senate, the landmark bill would legalize marijuana use nationwide, expunge previous convictions from people’s records and impose a 5% tax on the sale of cannabis products.