What do you get when you cross blue state liberal marijuana laws with red state conservatism? A purple haze.
California voters approved recreational use of marijuana for adults in the November 2016 election. But federal law still characterizes marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic. The extent to which the current administration will attempt to enforce federal marijuana laws in more permissive states is anyone’s guess. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer made comments at a press conference yesterday that indicated that the Department of Justice may take a dim view of recreational use, regardless of applicable state law. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is also well-known for his opposition to marijuana.
What does all this mean for California employers? Even though recreational use is legal, the law does not:
- Require employers to permit use, possession, sale, or growth of marijuana in the workplace;
- Prohibit policies against the use of marijuana by current and prospective employees; or
- Prohibit pre-employment testing.
The problem with testing is that it’s not yet sensitive enough to tell whether someone was impaired at a particular point in time as opposed telling whether they’ve consumed marijuana in the last 30 days or so. Moreover, many employers have moved away from pre-employment testing because it eliminates too many seemingly qualified candidates.
Want more information about the marijuana laws in your area, check out our Cannabis Law Practice Group or follow practice co-chair Josh Horn on Twitter.