Should someone using marijuana in a state where it is legal fear that they will lose their job or have their job application rejected? Pro-marijuana advocates are starting to show that the answer is an emphatic “no” and they are demanding for action in this regard.
It is ironical that California, which paved the way for recreational marijuana across the country, doesn’t have protections for workers who use legal marijuana within its state borders. Courts have ruled that the laws legalizing marijuana don’t shield workers from being fired for using marijuana and the attempt of lawmakers to correct this situation was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger during his term in office.
However, things aren’t all bleak across the country. For starters, 15 states, including Arizona, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have all passed laws banning discriminating against job applicants or employees on the basis of their use of marijuana.
Nevada was the first to take this significant step after the state passed the law in June and Gov. Sisolak signed the bill. This law will take effect in 2020.
In April, the New York City Council approved a measure that bans pre-employment marijuana testing. This action shows that local authorities are ready to take the lead on this important matter if state legislatures take long to act on issues that the people find important.
In the past, the courts of law have largely upheld the right of employers to fire an employee for using marijuana or refuse to hire one who tests positive for the drug. However, this tide seems to be changing as well because many courts have ruled in favor of protecting the workers’ right to use marijuana in states where such use is legal.
For example, the right of employees to use medical marijuana in Massachusetts was upheld by a state court last year. Similar rulings were made in Connecticut and Rhode Island.
This year, federal courts also moved to protect this right when a federal court in Arizona ruled that a Walmart employee was wrongfully terminated on the basis of her use of medical marijuana.
The winds or change also seem to be reaching Capitol Hill as a bill was introduced in Congress seeking to protect federal workers from having their employment status determined solely on the basis that such employees use marijuana in states where it is legal.
Industry watchers are convinced that entities like TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) (FRA: TH8) and VIVO Cannabis Inc. (TSX.V: VIVO) (OTCQX: VVCIF) are pleased by the push to protect workers who use marijuana legally since this will lift a cloud from a huge number of people who feared to use legal marijuana for fear that their jobs or employability will be placed in jeopardy.
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