If The Marijuana Initiative Passes, Can California Employers Still Ban Pot At Work?


Q If the recreational marijuana initiative is passed by California voters, what happens to employers who have restrictive policies?

– F.M., Torrance

A The language of Proposition 64, the Nov. 8 ballot initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 and older, specifically states that public and private employers are allowed “to enact and enforce workplace policies pertaining to marijuana.” The act does nothing to infringe upon the right of a public or private employer to maintain a drug-free workplace. Thus, employers are entitled to maintain policies that prohibit the use of marijuana by employees or prospective employees.

If California voters approve the measure, the state would join Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado and the District of Columbia in legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults.

Q If marijuana use by adults in California becomes legal by year’s end, how can an employer refuse to hire someone who has a drug test that is positive for marijuana?

– D.S., Manhattan Beach

A It has recently been reported that the Obama administration will still treat marijuana as a dangerous drug. The Drug Enforcement Administration indicates this decision was subsequent to lengthy review and consultation with the Health and Human Services Department. The view is that marijuana has “a high potential for abuse” and “no accepted medical use.” Thus, it remains illegal under federal law, even though 25 states (and the District of Columbia) have legalized marijuana for either medicinal or recreational use. The DEA leaves open that further study could lead to modification of the policy in time.

Bottom line: Given the federal designation to this point, and a 2008 California Supreme Court decision titled Ross v RagingWire Telecommunications Inc., employers here have the right not to hire someone who tests positive for marijuana, even if it was recommended by his or her doctor.

Q Just what will be legal if Proposition 64 passes?

– L.G., Belmont Shores

A Recreational use of marijuana by adults over 21 will be legalized. In addition, adults will be allowed to transport, purchase, obtain, give away to other adults, process or possess up to one ounce of marijuana, or up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis. Adults also will be allowed to plant, cultivate, possess, harvest, dry or process up to six living plants of marijuana for recreational use.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: If The Marijuana Initiative Passes, Can California Employers Still Ban Pot At Work?
Author: Ron Sokol
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