Worried About A Drug Test Getting You Fired? California's Got Your Back, As Long As You Aren't High On The Job

A bill that would prevent employers from sanctioning their workers who use recreational cannabis outside work hours got the green light from California lawmakers on Tuesday, reported ABC News.

The move follows D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's approval of a piece of legislation that protects employees from discrimination in the workplace based on their recreational or medical marijuana use.

Assembly Bill 2188 seeks to safeguard employees' right to use cannabis, since tests, which rely on urine or hair samples, detect if marijuana has been used recently instead of targeting persons who are currently high only.

Moreover, the tests are designed to detect metabolites, a byproduct produced by the human body while breaking down THC, which can remain in a person's system for several weeks following the use of cannabis.

To that end, labor unions are pointing out that it's unfair to get punished for using marijuana off-the-clock in states where the plant is legal.

Matt Bell, secretary-treasurer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324, called cannabis tests "outdated."

"Using outdated cannabis tests only causes employees to feel unsafe and harassed at work, it does not increase workplace safety," Bell said.

Meanwhile, Assemblymember Bill Quirk, who authored the bill, says that it's not designed to protect those coming to work high.

"Nothing in this bill would allow someone to come (to work) high," the lawmaker said.

What's Next

The Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has until the end of next month to sign the bill into law.

However, it's still to be seen whether the move will affect cannabis use rates among Californians, who have been purchasing legal weed since 2018. According to the Department of Tax and Fee Administration's (CDTFA) data, the state has taken in nearly $4 billion in marijuana tax revenue so far, even though illicit cannabis sales are still booming. According to a recent study by Reason Foundation, Good Farmers Great Neighbors and Precision Advocacy underground sales make up three-quarters of all weed sales in the Golden State.

The reasons unlicensed cultivators are kept out of the legal market and contribute to illicit sales are strict regulations and high taxes.

While Gov. Newsom recently signed a wide-ranging bill, AB 195, that seeks to eliminate a cannabis cultivation tax in July, taking some of the burden off cannabis producers, many operators have decided to flee the market altogether.

Companies Which Should Take Note

Still, some of the biggest players in cannabis have made early moves into the California market, and are now seemingly there to stay:

  • Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. CURLF CURA
  • Green Thumb Industries GTBIF
  • Trulieve Cannabis TCNNF
  • Cresco Labs Inc. CL CRLBF
  • Verano Holdings. VRNO VRNOF
  • Columbia Care Inc. CCHW CCHW CCHWF
  • Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. AAWH AAWH
  • TerrAscend Corp. TER TRSSF
  • Jushi Holdings Inc. JUSH JUSHF

Photo: Courtesy of greenserenityca by Pixabay

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