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Washington Governor signs bill to protect employees from drug testing for THC

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Washington state will soon provide measures to protect employees from pre-employment drug tests for cannabis in many situations.

On May 9, Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5132 To put in place broad protections for employees who consume cannabis with restrictions on drug testing at work for cannabis.

Employers must prepare to comply by January 1, 2024, the effective date of the law. Bill Sponsored by Sen. Karen Kaiser (D-Des Moines), who serves as chair of the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

“It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in the initial employment appointment if the discrimination is based on: (a) the person’s use of cannabis outside of work and away from the workplace; or (b) a drug screening test required by the employer that found the person to have metabolites non-psychoactive cannabis in his hair, blood, urine, or other bodily fluids,” the bill reads.

With i502, Washington certified Cannabis sales for adult use in 2012. During the 2022-2023 legislative session, Washington lawmakers worked to implement a bill that would close the gap between employment practices and existing law.

SB 5132 provides waivers for positions involving federal security clearances or background investigations, in law enforcement, fire department, first responders, corrections officers, airlines or aerospace industries, or in safety-sensitive positions.

Why drug testing for cannabis does not work

the Spokesperson Review reports that cannabinoid metabolites can be detected after a prolonged period of attenuation, lasting up to 30 days or longer. But cognitive impairment only lasts three to ten hours, according to a 2021 University of Sydney study. These researchers found that drug tests for cannabis are more likely to Inaccurate way to determine damage.

Screening urine for cannabis consumption outside of work was not an evidence-based policy. He said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. Instead, this discriminatory practice is a relic of the zeitgeist of the 1980s War on Drugs. But times have changed. Attitudes have changed, and in many places, marijuana laws have changed. It is time for workplace policies to adapt to this new reality and stop penalizing employees for activities they engage in during their spare hours that pose no threat to workplace safety.”

Armentano added, “Those who legally and responsibly consume alcohol while away from their jobs are not subject to penalties from their employers unless their work performance is adversely affected. Those who legally consume cannabis should be subject to similar standards.”

Nevada enacted a similar law to ban employers from drug testing for cannabis in 2019. California, Connecticut, Montana, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island have enacted workplace protections that limit employers’ ability to test for THC or penalize employees for their use. of hemp out of business. On a local level, Atlanta, Baltimore, Philadelphia and the District of Columbia have approved bills to limit the ability for employers to pre-screen job applicants for past cannabis use.

The effects of cannabis wear off within hours. Numerous studies show that employees who consume cannabis around the clock perform no differently than their peers who do not consume cannabis.

The new law means that employers in Washington must review and revise their drug testing policies to align with the protections provided by SB 5132. They must remove any pre-employment cannabis drug testing requirements that test for or report non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites and ensure that these Policies clearly define exemptions for drug testing, such as for post-incident or suspicion-based cases.

New York issued similar guidelines. In October 2021, New York State Department of Labor (DOL) A new directive has been issued on legal recreational marijuana use and the workplace including new labor protections. The new guidelines make clear that around the clock cannabis use should be tolerated by employers in most situations. He defines mandatory pre-employment drug testing for cannabis as “discrimination.”

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