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California California Cannabis Rules for 2024: Employees Get Protection for Using Cannabis

Note: This blog post does not contain legal advice. Please read any new laws carefully before changing your marijuana consumption habits.

It’s a New Year, and with it comes happy news that California has taken one step closer to the normalization of cannabis consumption!

 recreational and medical cannabis from Torrey Holistics

That forward motion began with the passage of a California Assembly Bill (Assembly Bill 2188) in September 2022, which prohibits employers from discriminating against prospective and current employees because of their cannabis consumption outside of work hours. 

What does this mean for the average cannabis consumer in California? 

  • The state of California is better protecting the rights of medical and recreational cannabis consumers 
  • In most cases, you cannot be fired for consuming cannabis off the clock
  • These legal protections do not cover the consumption of cannabis while at work

About the bill: Discrimination in employment and the use of cannabis.

In 1996, California voters legalized cannabis use for medical consumption. However, employers were still able to drug screen their employees and had the option to terminate them or to not hire them because of their cannabis consumption outside of work hours. 

In 2016, California voters legalized the recreational use of cannabis by adults. Unfortunately, even though recreational consumption of cannabis was legal, adult cannabis consumers could still be drug screened by their employers and be denied a job or fired from their job related to their consumption.  

But, starting on January 1, 2024, the new California Assembly Bill (Assembly Bill 2188) will go into effect and will prevent California employers from punishing their employees for recreational use of cannabis outside of work hours. And while current and prospective workers can still be tested, they cannot be disciplined unless they are impaired at the time of the test.

How does this new bill affect cannabis consumers in California? 

The sole purpose of Assembly Bill 2188 is to protect workers, if they use cannabis recreationally outside of work and it shows up on a test. The bill prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees based on:

  • the person’s use of cannabis off-duty and off-site.
  • an employer-required drug test that reveals non psychoactive cannabis metabolites, which is what most current drug tests screen for. 

Employers and Employees Exempt From the New Law Regulating Marijuana Consumption

The new law applies to almost all private employers, employees and applicants, with few exceptions. It does not apply to employees:

  •  in the building and construction trades.
  •  requiring a federal background investigation or security clearance. 
  •  required to be tested for drugs pursuant to other state or federal laws or government contracts.

What’s next for Cannabis Consumers?

In conclusion, although employers may find new ways to detect THC in the future, this year California has certainly come a long way in a short period of time in normalizing cannabis consumption!  And we can only hope that someday in the future, most employers will choose to completely stop testing for cannabis… with federal legalization shortly following! 

Ready to celebrate: click here to view our full menu of recreational and medical cannabis