California Bill Would Ban Employers from Cannabis Use Discrimination

A bill being considered in California would prohibit most employers from denying or terminating an employee due to a positive drug test for cannabis.

Full story after the jump.

A bill introduced in California would prohibit most employers from using a positive drug test for cannabis from denying or terminating an employee and would allow those who face employment discrimination for cannabis use to take legal action, the Sacramento Bee reports.

The measure excludes employers under a federal mandate to drug test, those who would lose funding or a licensing-related benefits for not testing for THC, and building and construction firms, the report says.

Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, told the Bee that the bill does not ban tests – such as blood screenings – that can determine whether an employee is actively under the influence but called the hair and urine tests most often used by employers “an irrational discrimination.”

“It is those tests that we want to ban, because they don’t detect anything related to impairment. … You can’t judge a worker by their urine. If you do that, you’re going to have a piss-poor workforce.” — Gieringer to the Bee

Gieringer also warned that the measure (AB.1256) is still being adjusted with language from other stakeholders and it might not be taken up this year. It was introduced February 19 by Democratic Assemblyman Bill Quirk and is pending referral to a committee where it may be heard on March 22, according to the bill history.

A study published last year by San Diego State University found that after-hours cannabis use has no negative effects on workplace performance but did find a negative correlation between those who used cannabis before and during work with task performance.

Last month several large employers in Maine – including the state’s largest private employer MaineHealth – indicated they are dropping THC testing from their pre-employment protocols for non-safety sensitive positions.

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