California Could Reverse Cannabis Employment Protections for Law Enforcement

California lawmakers may look to undo employment protections covering legal, off-duty cannabis use by law enforcement-related positions including police officers, dispatch, animal control, and coroners.

Full story after the jump.

California lawmakers could roll back the state’s policy protecting legal, off-duty cannabis use for law enforcement-related positions following new amendments to legislation currently sitting before the Senate Rules Committee, Marijuana Moment reports.

Sponsored by state Sen. Shannon Grove (R), the newly amended SB 1264 seeks to remove protections for “employees in sworn or nonsworn positions within law enforcement agencies” who consume cannabis while off-duty.

Currently, state law prohibits most California employers from terminating, refusing to hire, or otherwise penalizing employees for off-duty cannabis consumption. The cannabis employment protections — which stem from an amendment to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act that just took effect this year — already did not apply to workers “in the building and construction trades” nor applicants for federal positions that require clearance from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Specifically, the legislation carves away the cannabis protections for workers with the following law enforcement-related responsibilities, according to the report:

  • The apprehension, incarceration, or correction of criminal offenders.
  • Civil enforcement matters.
  • Dispatch and other public safety communications.
  • Evidence gathering and processing.
  • Law enforcement records.
  • Animal control.
  • Community services duties.
  • Public administrator or public guardian duties.
  • Coroner functions.

California voters opted to legalize cannabis for adult use in 2016 and the state’s adult-use industry launched in 2018; however, the state’s employment protection policies covering legal cannabis use were only signed into law in 2022 and 2023, the report said.

A recent survey by state officials found that 86% of Californians think that purchasing cannabis from legal sources is important, highlighting a growing preference for the regulated market over unregulated alternatives.

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