Earlier last week, legislators in the state of California approved a measure that would prevent firms from penalizing workers who failed drug tests to detect whether an individual had used cannabis in the recent days.
These tests, which usually use hair or urine samples, look for substances the body makes as it breaks down THC. THC is the primary psychoactive compound found in cannabis, which induces a high when consumed. The substances in question are known as metabolites and can remain in an individual’s body for weeks after they have been used. This means that individuals can fail a drug test even if they haven’t consumed marijuana recently.
This measure would prevent workers from being penalized if they fail such drug tests. However, companies can still punish their workers for failing other tests that use saliva to determine whether an individual is high.
The measure has been advanced to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who will have until the end of September to sign it into law. If approved, the bill would take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. The author of the measure, Assembly member Bill Quirk, stated that nothing in the initiative permitted individuals to go to their workplaces high.
In 1996, the state of California became the first state in the country to legalize medical cannabis use. Two decades later, the state was among the first to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Despite these historical strides, the state hasn’t made a significant effort to pass laws protecting its workers who use cannabis once they’re off the clock.
Labor unions postulate that punishing employees for doing something legal after work hours is unfair, especially as such use does not interfere with their work responsibilities. The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324’s secretary-treasurer Matt Bell stated that administering outdated marijuana tests didn’t increase workplace safety and, instead, made employees feel harassed and unsafe at work.
According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 21 states in the country have laws that protect workers who use medical cannabis from discrimination. On the other hand, the states that have laws protecting the rights of their workers to use recreational cannabis include Rhode Island, Montana, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Nevada. Once Newsom approves the measure, California will become the seventh state to protect its workers from any punishment if they use marijuana once they’re off the clock.
The enactment of this law could potentially result in an uptick in sales made by California-based companies such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS) because customers who once feared losing their jobs may be less hesitant about indulging while in their free time.
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