How 2 new state laws protect marijuana users’ employment rights

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2024 | Employment Law

Many Californians legally use marijuana with no negative effects on their life or work. Now, two laws that took effect on Jan. 1 will help ensure that California employees don’t suffer job repercussions for marijuana use in their personal lives. 

One law prohibits employers from asking current or prospective employees about their personal use of marijuana. The second law prohibits most employers from using the presence of non-active THC in a drug test as grounds for not hiring someone or taking any negative action against them. As most people know, THC can remain in a person’s system for days or weeks after marijuana use – long after any effects of the drug have worn off.  

There are some exceptions. For example, the new laws don’t prohibit those who work in construction or as truck drivers from facing adverse action if they’re impaired by marijuana on the job or if they test positive for active THC.

The new laws can minimize discrimination and harassment

Marijuana advocacy groups like NORML have applauded the new laws. As the director of California NORML said, “Testing or threatening to test bodily fluids for cannabis metabolites has been the most common way that employers harass and discriminate against employees who lawfully use cannabis in the privacy of their own homes.” 

It’s crucial for both employees and employers to be aware of the new laws. Unfortunately, not all employers keep up on every new California employment law. If you believe your rights have been violated and you’ve suffered harm as a result, you can and should discuss this with your employer. If that doesn’t resolve the matter, it’s smart to seek legal guidance. 


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