Massachusetts working on bill to protect marijuana users

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A bill would prohibit an employee’s firing for private marijuana consumption

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are working on legislation designed to better protect employees in the state. They are drafting a bill that would prevent employers from being able to fire employees who consume marijuana. If the bill is accepted, it will provide a great amount of relief to those who fear they could lose their jobs for participating in a legal activity.

Recreational marijuana use is legal in Massachusetts, but employers can fire employees for consumption, even if the workers only consume at home and arrive at work without being under the effects of the drug. The legislation has been drafted by Senator Jason Lewis and stipulates that marijuana consumption would be treated similarly to that of alcohol. As long as the employee shows up for work unimpaired, regardless of their private use, they could not be let go.

The only exception to the law would center on federal contractors in the state. These would not be covered by the law since marijuana is still illegal per U.S. federal laws.

Explaining the importance of the legislation, Lewis stated, “This is not intended to be a blanket protection for people to use cannabis whenever and wherever they like. But as long as they’re not impaired and it’s not impacting their work, employers should not be able to discriminate against them in hiring or promotion, and companies certainly should not be terminating people simply because they legally use marijuana on their own time.”