New Protections for Employees Who Use Cannabis in California Coming in 2024

For the first time since California passed sweeping cannabis reforms, new laws to protect employees in the state who consume cannabis will take effect on January 1, 2024, according to a report.

The new protections will make it illegal for employers to fire, refuse to hire, or otherwise penalize employees for off-duty cannabis use, per an amendment to California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (AB 2188). Signed by Gov. Gavin Newsome in September, the new law also mandates that employment-related drug screening must only test for on-the-job impairment, not long-term use. Additionally, employers will not be allowed to use evidence of past marijuana use against their employees, and employers will no longer be allowed to ask potential hires whether they have used cannabis.

Notably, AB 2188 does not stop employers from prohibiting and/or penalizing on-the-clock cannabis use or impairment. The new protections also do not apply to jobs in “the building and construction trades,” according to the report, nor to applicants for federal positions that would require clearance from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Previously, employers in California have been free to terminate or refuse to hire someone who tested positive for cannabis use whether or not their use

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