CannaBeat is a curated biweekly selection of top new stories impacting business, research, and culture in the cannabis industry, crafted by Emerge Law Group.
Emerge’s Hot Take
Cannabis laws can change quickly. In many jurisdictions, the changes occur so quickly that cannabis legalization sometimes conflicts with laws and regulations in unrelated areas, such as employment. In some states with legal cannabis, people are still being denied employment based on inactive THC metabolites found in pre-employment drug tests. These metabolites result from past cannabis usage which could be weeks or more before the drug test. Washington is working to address this issue by drafting legislation prohibiting employment discrimination based on these types of tests. State cannabis laws create a “disconnect between the potential employees’ legal activities and an employer’s hiring practice.” The Washington legislation states:
Applicants are much less likely to test positive or be disqualified for the presence of alcohol on a preemployment screening test compared with cannabis, despite both being legally allowed controlled substances. The legislature intends to prevent restricting job opportunities based on an applicant’s past use of cannabis.
The legislation will have a committee hearing this week. Washington is not the only state that has taken steps to protect the rights of cannabis consumer employees. California, Connecticut, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have each enacted statutes that limit an employer’s ability to refuse employment based on past and/or off-duty adult-use (recreational) cannabis usage. There are other states that protect medical rights but not adult-use. See map provided by Cal NORML Here.