California Law Will Protect Employees’ Use of Marijuana Outside WorkPosted by On

Editor’s Note: Gov. Gavin Newsom signed this bill into law on Sept. 18. 

The California Legislature recently passed a bill prohibiting employers from penalizing workers for using marijuana during their off-work hours. 

Recreational use of marijuana has been legal in California since 2016. While off-duty use would be legally protected, the new bill does allow employers to fire or suspend workers for possessing, using or being impaired by marijuana while at work.

The law will take effect in January 2024.

For safety reasons, there are some exceptions to the rule on off-duty use. The bill “includes carveouts for the building and construction trades, federal contractors, federal funding recipients, or federal licensees required to maintain drug-free workplaces,” noted Christopher Olmsted, an attorney with Ogletree Deakins in San Diego.. “Its provisions also exclude occupations that are required by federal or state laws to be tested for controlled substances. That may include, for example, truck drivers who are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.”

“I anticipate concern surrounding safety-sensitive positions,” said Dalia Khatib, an attorney with CDF Labor Law in Sacramento, Calif. “This will also impact how seriously an employer should look at a person’s conduct.”

Difference Between THC and CBD

The bill will prevent employers from discriminating against an applicant or employee who fails a drug test that detects non-psychoactive…

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