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An Update on California Workplace Marijuana Protection Bills

Aug 06 2018, by Jessica McElfresh in Legal Blog, Marijuana Business, Marijuana Charges, Medical Marijuana

Californians may have voted to legalize the use of cannabis, but marijuana in the workplace is far from a settled issue. As the law currently stands, you can get fired from your job if cannabis use is against company policy, or if a supervisor suspects you are high at work. Nonetheless, some lawmakers are working to have this policy changed.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta believes that it’s unfair that people who legally medicate with cannabis face the threat of losing their jobs. His proposed legislation, Assembly Bill 2069, gives marijuana patients legal protection against adverse employment action. However, the State Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business California opposed the bill, which died in committee shortly after being introduced.

If you have been charged with a marijuana crime in California, you should seek legal representation to ensure that your rights are protected. To speak with a skilled San Diego marijuana attorney, contact McElfresh Law today at (858) 756-7107 and schedule a free and confidential case consultation.

Workplace Marijuana Reform Stalls in State Legislature

Opponents of the bill argued that Bonta’s proposed employment protections were too broad, and would run against some employer’s desire to remain a drug-free workplace. They cited the difficulties in determining when and to what extent people who use cannabis might be impaired. In its letter to the Assembly, the Chamber of Commerce also predicted that the bill would cause many employers to face costly litigation. Even assuming these arguments are true, there is still a strong case for protecting marijuana users in the workplace. Assemblyman Bonta stated, “We need to make sure the rights of users of cannabis as medicine are protected.”

An Overview of Assembly Bill 2069

Assembly Bill 2069 would have limited employer authority to screen potential employees for cannabis use, a common practice that is necessary for some professions. Recognizing the individual needs of some industries, Bonta’s law included exemptions for certain occupations such as commercial pilots.

The bill also preserved the right of employers to fire employees who show up impaired for work. But, as Shawn Lewis, spokesperson for the National Federation of Independent Business California stated, “The problem is there is no way to test how someone is impaired due to marijuana — unlike testing for alcohol impairment.”

Bonta’s proposed workplace protections for cannabis users created concern in requiring employers to develop a “reasonable accommodation” for workers with cannabis recommendations. There was concern over the amount of litigation that would focus on what consists in reasonable accommodation, which is a term that is not only vague but untested in practice.

Attorney McElfresh Can Help You With Your Case

Cannabis may be legal in California, but users, retailers, and cultivators of the plant are still at a disadvantage under many laws and regulations. If you are facing prosecution or administrative action from the state, a California cannabis lawyer can help. At McElfresh Law, we are passionate about upholding the legal rights of Californians. For more information on how we can assist you, call us today at (858) 756-7107 to schedule a free case review.