Now that Nevada has passed a law that allows residents to use recreational marijuana, residents should not be discriminated against or disqualified from a job for doing so. This is according to a Nevada state representative who sponsored a bill that just made it illegal for employers possibly retaliate against employees who use marijuana.
The new state law, which will go into effect January 2020, will not stop businesses from testing for marijuana or prevent them from refusing to hire someone if they do test positive, but it will go a long way to prevent marijuana-based job discrimination. The law will not apply to firefighters, doctors, nurses, and people who drive a vehicle for a living, and there will be exceptions for other employers who feel that hiring someone who uses marijuana could “adversely affect the safety of others.”
The bill also will address those who may have used marijuana during off-work hours but tested positive later. THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, can remain in a person's system weeks or even months afterward. As an example, Tina tries recreational marijuana in March and decides she doesn't like it. In May she applies for her dream job and is asked to take a drug-screening test. Before this law, she could have been turned down for the position based on testing positive for THC even though it had been weeks since she used marijuana.
A director with the Nevada Dispensary Association said the new law is a good step toward normalizing marijuana use by adults. “It makes sense to start adjusting our laws to reflect that this is legal and it should be treated like alcohol.”
Nevada is the first state to ban using the results from a marijuana test to disqualify a potential job candidate. The New York City Council has taken a similar step.
Marijuana and the Washington Workplace
Just as with alcohol, Washington employers can limit or prohibit marijuana use in the workplace. It cannot be used in view of the general public, which goes in accordance with the state law that legalized marijuana. Washington employers can still test for marijuana according to their internal policies, and they need to make sure their policies are up to date with the current laws.
Right now, there is no legislation that prevents a Washington employer from disqualifying or terminating a person from employment if they test positive for marijuana--even if they are prescribed medical marijuana. Recreational and medical users of marijuana in Washington should carefully consult a company's drug policy and understand what will be asked of them before they apply for a job.
Attorney Steve Karimi provides effective legal representation for clients across Washington. He has many years defending against allegations that involve possession of or intent to deliver controlled substances. Contact his office today for a consultation at 206-621-8777.