A new bill to protect workers from being fired for using marijuana arrives

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More cannabis reform could be coming this year as the paradigm shifts

A large number of Americans have admitted to being consistent marijuana users in recent years. However, a large majority of them have had to limit this practice due to their restricted jobs and the obstacles they place on employees in relation to the use of this drug. Washington wants to address this issue through a bill, protecting workers from being fired for marijuana. The measure is expected to be heard by a committee this week.

Thanks to a new bill introduced in the Washington State Senate, employers would be prohibited from discriminating against job applicants simply for off-duty marijuana use or testing positive for non-psychoactive THC metabolites. Introduced before 2022 ends, the bill is one of several marijuana reform proposals that will be taken up during a Senate Labor and Commerce Committee hearing in the coming days.

The proposal, sponsored by Senator and chair of that panel, Karen Keizer, notes that the legalization of recreational cannabis in the state more than a decade ago “created a disconnect between the legal activities of prospective employees and the hiring practices of employers.” Keizer adds that the bill plans to “avoid restricting employment opportunities based on an applicant’s prior cannabis use.”

State status would get a new section thanks to the two-page bill, making it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring if the plant is used after hours or if it tests positive for THC metabolites as part of an employer-mandated drug test. It was made clear that there would be some positions where the legislation would not apply, such as those whose jobs require federal background checks or security clearance.