What is the New Law on Marijuana in California?
By Corey Hanrahan
There is a new law on marijuana in California, as it pertains to employment. These new laws are often not posted by the employers, so it’s important for employees to know their own rights. So, let’s cover this important new law on marijuana in California that provides employees with brand new protections!
In California, starting on January 1, 2024, employers will no longer be able to take adverse actions against employees based on recreational cannabis use outside of the workplace. This is part of Assembly Bill 2188 (known as AB 2188). Yes, you read that correctly. Starting in the new year, employers can no longer dictate or govern your recreational cannabis use outside of the workplace. Of course, they can still prohibit cannabis use while you are at work (which includes prohibiting cannabis use on breaks). But once you clock out and are away from the workplace, the employer can no longer control your use of recreational cannabis.
So, what does this mean, exactly? This new law prohibits employers from terminating or disciplining anyone if a drug test comes back with “non-psychoactive” traces of marijuana or THC in their blood system or urine system.
“…Starting on January 1, 2024, employers can no longer take adverse actions against employees based on recreational cannabis use outside of the workplace...“
So, what does this mean for drug tests? Can you refuse to take a drug test? Unfortunately, no. Does this mean that employers can no longer drug test employees or applicants? No, it doesn’t. The new law applies only to marijuana, and not any other illegal drugs. Also, it is very important to note that employers can still take adverse action against an employee whose drug test comes back with levels of THC that actually impair the employee’s ability to do his or her job. So, it’s probably not a good idea to use marijuana on your way to work. And be careful, because employers can still prevent the use or possession of marijuana in the workplace.
So, in short, employers can still prohibit the use of marijuana at work, but they can no longer control what you are doing outside of the workplace, unless (and this is important) it comes into the workplace and causes some impairment or ability to do your job. This is a very important new law on marijuana in California and shows that California continues to provide its residents with more protections in the workplace.
If you have questions about California’s new law preventing employers from disciplining employees who use marijuana outside of work, or if you feel you have been treated wrongfully at work, contact The Hanrahan Firm for a free consultation.