A Louisiana bill to protect state employees who use medical cannabis unanimously passed the House Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations last week, according to a LSU Manship School News Service report. If approved, the law would protect employees from being fired and would protect prospective employees from being discriminated against for their medical cannabis use.
The measure does not include protections for law enforcement, firefighters, or other public safety officials.
State Rep. Mandie Landry (D), the bill’s sponsor, said in some cases medical cannabis “has proved to be a better option” for patients “who don’t want to take opioids for their long-term PTSD and pain management because of the high possibility of addiction.”
Jacques Berry, communications director for the Louisiana Department of Administration, indicated that while the agency already has protections in place for medical cannabis patients, Landry’s proposal would create uniform policies across all state agencies. Berry pointed to the success of a sexual harassment bill approved two years ago that codified state rules – which he said was necessary because sexual harassment policies among agencies “were all over the place.”
During the hearing, Tony Landry, an advocate with Veterans Action Council, said that he would have liked to see firefighters and law enforcement included in the bill, noting that they can’t even use CBD products due to the risk of a positive drug test.
“I’m in favor of this bill,” he said, “and I just think we need to leave no employee behind.”
The measure moves next to the full chamber for consideration.
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