Senator Proposes Bill to Protect Medical Pot Users in California


In many instances, we have heard cases of patients whose jobs have been jeopardized by their medical marijuana use, mainly due to a positive drug test. A feature in the San Francisco Chronicle shared a bill that aims to provide job security to those who use pot for medical purposes.

Mark LenoBill SB129 was introduced by state Senator Mark Leno (D – San Francisco). If passed, it will make the consideration of a worker’s status as a registered patient or a positive drug test in hiring and termination decisions by an employer illegal. It does not, however, change prevailing laws that prohibit employees – even registered patients – from using medical marijuana at work.

The bill, however, does not apply to all employees; its scope depends on the nature of work of the employee concerned. Health care providers, bus drivers, and operators of heavy equipment – those roles that are collectively called “safety-sensitive positions” – are not protected by the proposed bill.

Sen. Leno said: “The bill simply establishes a medical cannabis patient’s right to work… [it is] a completely reasonable piece of legislation. It astounds me that there would be any controversy around it.”

Sen. Leno had already proposed a similar bill in 2007, according to the report. That bill was passed by Legislature but was vetoed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said that he was “concerned with the interference in employment decisions as they relate to marijuana use.” In addition, the former governor indicated that employment protection was not among the goals of Prop. 215, which allowed the use of medical marijuana after its passage in 1996.

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