Sacramento Business Journal | Scott Rodd | April 20, 2018
Bill would provide workplace discrimination protection for medical cannabis users
With California’s legalization of recreational cannabis this year, state lawmakers continue to push legislation that normalizes cannabis use.
State Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Oakland, wants to see that normalization extended to the workplace through protections for employees who use cannabis for medical purposes.
“As we continue to make the massive transformation to legalization of adult use cannabis, and a full regulatory (system) for medical cannabis … we need to make sure the rights of users of cannabis as medicine are protected,” Bonta told the Business Journal.
Drug testing has long been part of the hiring process for many employers. But Bonta sees the practice as outdated — and potentially discriminatory. Today, he said, many Californians rely on cannabis as an alternative to over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Therefore, protecting job applicants' or employees' medicinal choices should be extended to medical cannabis, Bonta argues.
Assembly Bill 2069, to be heard by the Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment next Wednesday, does establish some limits to those protections. It would not protect employees from being disciplined or terminated for being impaired on the job. The bill would also exempt employers who would lose “monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law” as a result of employing an individual who uses cannabis
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