Washington Proposals Would Legalize Home Grows & End Pre-Employment Drug Tests for Cannabis

Washington lawmakers are considering bills to allow cannabis home grows and end the practice of drug testing for cannabis as a condition for getting hired.

Full story after the jump.

Lawmakers in Washington are considering bills to reform aspects of the state’s cannabis policies, including allowing home cultivation and ending the use of testing for cannabis as a condition for getting hired.  

The home grow bill would allow adults to grow up to six plants and define anyone who possesses homegrown cannabis as an “ultimate user” – one who cannot sell the cannabis they produce and is not required to register with the state, FOX 28 reports.  

Cannabis cultivation would not be allowed in houses used to provide early childhood education and early learning services by a family daycare provider. Growers would also need to keep plants out of public view, the report says. The bill also includes punishments for growers who leave cannabis in an area where they should reasonably expect a person under 21 may gain access to it. 

The measure is set to be heard by the House Regulated Substances & Gaming Committee on February 2.  

The drug testing measure would prevent cannabis testing for pre-employment for jobs but would still allow companies to test workers while they are employed, the Spokesman-Review reports. State Sen. Karen Keiser (D) said she believes requiring individuals to take pre-employment drug tests for cannabis equates to “discrimination at this point.”    

“We really need to open our doors and not close them. It’s both a fairness issue and a workforce issue.” — Keiser via the Spokesman-Review 

Burl Bryson, executive director for The Cannabis Alliance, told the Spokesman-Review that were the “same approach … applied to alcohol, employers would refuse employment to anyone who enjoyed a beer or a glass of wine on the weekend.” 

“We all know that this is not a workable standard,” he said.  

Opponents argue that drug testing is important for employers in maintaining a safe work environment and that the employer is liable for any safety concerns that may result from an employee’s impairment. 

Jim King, with the Independent Business Association, though, described the current test for cannabis as “inadequate” because it doesn’t test for impairment, rather the mere presence of cannabinoids in a person’s system.  

State Sen. John Braun, leader of the Republican caucus, said he thinks the issue is more “technical” and less “legislative.” 

“It seems to me that folks who are in this industry, who participate in the use of the products ought to be very interested in improving their testing so that we can show without a doubt if, just because you legally use cannabis, that you’re not impaired when you come to work,” he told the Spokesman-Review. 

The measure was heard by Washington‘s Senate Labor and Commerce Committee on January 10 but it took no action on the proposal.  


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