California Law 2024 to Protect Most Workers Who Use Cannabis on Own Time

A new law will soon protect the majority of California workers who use marijuana at work.A part of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act was added last year when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 2188. This section makes it illegal to treat people differently at work.

Employers will not be able to refuse to hire, fire, or punish someone because they use weed when they are not working or away from the workplace as of January 1.

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From now on, employers can still test current and future employees for THC, which is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis and can show that someone is impaired. But the law says that companies can’t treat them badly if they test positive for metabolized THC or non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine, or other body fluids.

“These metabolites do not indicate impairment, only that an individual has consumed cannabis in the last few weeks,” the lawmakers found. Employers will still be able to say that their office is drug- and alcohol-free. Because of this rule, workers can’t have cannabis on the job, be high on it, or use it. The new law will not cover people who work for the government or in the building and construction trades.

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The law “does not preempt state or federal laws requiring applicants or employees to be tested for controlled substances … as a condition of employment, receiving federal funding or federal licensing-related benefits, or entering into a federal contract.”

Newsom signed Senate Bill 700, another cannabis-related bill, into law in October. Starting next year, most companies will not be able to ask job applicants about their past cannabis use.

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