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Proposed Bill Would Bring Fairness to Employees Who Partake in Marijuana

Posted by Steve Karimi | Feb 07, 2020 | 0 Comments

Imagine this scenario: you occasionally use recreational marijuana and recently you applied for a dream job at a new company. You get hired, and a week after your start date you are asked to take a drug test as part of the company's policy. You knew when you were hired that the company had a drug-free policy and you haven't used recreational marijuana since you started working for them, but your drug screen comes back positive for THC from smoking or being around marijuana days before you were hired. Now imagine your shock to find out that because of the positive drug test, you are fired.

Washington House Bill 2740

Several Washington legislators have sponsored a new bill that would ban employers from discriminating against employees who use both medicinal and recreational marijuana. House Bill 2740 could put an end to employers being able to fire employees for marijuana usage that happened before they became employees.

One of the sponsors of the bill, Representative Shelley Kloba from Kirkland, said she hopes that the bill will allow Washington to catch up to its otherwise progressive laws regarding marijuana. “It's a fairness thing,” Kloba said. “Once they are on your payroll, then they have to follow your rules. But it doesn't penalize them for legal behavior before they were employed.”

Other states have similar bills that prevent employers from denying a job to someone who has legally used marijuana. Kloba modeled her bill after a Nevada law, and in the state of New York, companies are forbidden to require applicants to take a pre-employment screening for marijuana.

House Bill 2740 would have some exceptions: firefighters, commercial drivers, and employees involved in federal contracts or grants would be excluded from the proposed law.

Opponents of the Bill

Of course, there are a few groups and legislators who are against House Bill 2740. Senator Mark Schoesler said he didn't think the bill was “well-thought-out.” “... I think it's the right of the employer to screen people for potential safety problems.” He went on to say that if someone can't refrain from using marijuana before they are screened, it may indicate that person has a problem. 

The Association of Washington Businesses also is against the idea behind the proposed legislation. The group's concern is that employers of certain employers, like construction companies, would have to make exceptions for those who use medicinal marijuana.

Drug Defense Attorney

Even though it's been almost eight years since Washington legalized recreational marijuana, legislators are still trying to work out some antiquated laws regarding cannabis. And federally, marijuana is still considered an illegal, Schedule 1 drug. If you are facing drug charges, you need an attorney who will aggressively fight on your behalf. Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today to learn more.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.

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