February 2011: Employment and the Law

A:

Late last month, California State Senator Mark Leno introduced SB 129, an ASA-sponsored bill to protect the employment rights of patients. The bill would prevent employers from firing employees, or prevent them from refusing to hire new employees simply because they are medical cannabis patients. Do not be fooled, however, by the media hype: until the bill passes & is signed into law, your job is still at risk. California patients cannot sue an employer if they were fired or not hired because of their use medical cannabis.

Until the bill passes, if you are a patient who is in a non-safety-sensitive position, and your employer has no probable cause to administer a drug test (such as your involvement in an accident or injury), and you have not previously agreed to drug testing as a condition of your employment, then you may refuse to take a drug test when asked by your employer.

While Senate Bill 129 does not require employers to allow the use of medical cannabis at work, it is a huge step in the right direction. Contact your state Senator today to encourage them to support and/or cosponsor SB 129!

…and remember to keep ASA in the loop—if you or your friends or colleagues have had trouble with an employer due to their status as a medical cannabis patient, call our legal hotline at 510/251-1856 x304 or email legalsupport@safeaccessnow.org.

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