It just got a lot easier for most job applicants in Washington D.C. The Labor & Workforce Development Committee unanimously approved a bill to prevent pre-employment marijuana testing. It’s a good first step for the state, which is slowly aligning the law with the mindset of the people, protecting them from workplace discrimination due to the use of medical cannabis.
Per Marijuana Moment, the legislation was sponsored by Democratic Councilmember Trayon White. “This is an important step towards eliminating historic inequities of cannabis use and ensuring that those who use cannabis medically or recreationally are not penalized in their work spaces [for what they do] on their private time,” he said in a statement.
The new ruling makes it clear that no businesses or employers can request a cannabis test from a job candidate. They make exceptions for police, safety-sensitive construction workers, and jobs that require a commercial drivers’ license, working with children or with patients.
While the bill sounds pretty lenient, they make it clear that this protection extends only to protect prospective employees. “Nothing in this act shall be construed to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growing of marijuana in the workplace,” explains the bill.
D.C. voters approved medical marijuana in 2011, even though the industry has moved at a glacial pace, running into roadblocks from Congress. While gifting and possessing marijuana is allowed in the state, accepting money or any sort of remuneration for it is banned, putting a damper on any kind of legal cannabis market.
Cannabis and the workplace is an issue that continues to create problems for employers and employees. While rules vary depending on the state, the fact that cannabis is illegal at a federal level creates a lot of risks for medical cannabis users. For the time being, in most states, employers have a final say on their cannabis policies.