Californians voted to legalize marijuana, but employers can still restrict its use
- California voters may approve Proposition 64 legalizing marijuana, but employers can follow federal law and restrict its use – even for medical purposes – in the workplace, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Employers could prohibit the use and possession of the drug, and take action against someone who’s found to be under its influence. Companies also could refuse to hire anyone who tests positive for marijuana in pre-employment drug-testing and fire an employee who agrees to be tested but tests positive. Voters couldn't see these restrictions on the ballot summary, but they're written in a 62-page proposition.
- The California Chamber of Commerce has not taken a position on Proposition 64, although it did oppose a previous attempt to legalize marijuana because it thought employers would have to accommodate its use in and outside of the workplace. That measure failed.
California’s 1996 Compassionate Use Act allows marijuana medical use by "seriously ill Californians" with a physician’s approval. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibit employers from discriminating against people with disabilities, which could describe some marijuana users. Employers normally would have to provide accommodation for them under the law in the absence of a health or safety risk.
Courts have sided with employers in hearing marijuana cases, however. Despite efforts to legalize the drug, even for medical use, employers can continue enforcing zero-tolerance policies on substance abuse in the workplace.
- HR Dive Minimum wage and marijuana: How voting initiatives will impact HR
- San Francisco Chronicle Even if Prop. 64 passes, you still can’t get high at work