For Immediate Release: October 12, 2021
COUNCILMEMBER RAMAN INTRODUCES RESOLUTION SUPPORTING EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS FOR CANNABIS USERS
LOS ANGELES — Today, Councilmember Nithya Raman introduced a resolution in support of AB 1256 (Quirk), which would prohibit California employers from discriminating against hiring—or from terminating—a person who has tested positive for having non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their urine, hair, or bodily fluids, which do not correlate with on-the-job impairment. If the resolution is adopted, the City of Los Angeles would include its support for AB 1256 in the official 2021-22 State Legislative Program.
“California has long had a progressive stance on the consumption of cannabis — but it has fallen short in protecting its workers who use cannabis off the job,” said Councilmember Raman. “Each day we neglect removing these outdated drug testing requirements is another day we are erecting roadblocks to ensuring a truly robust and equitable workforce.”
As of 2016, both medical and recreational cannabis use has been made legal in California. Despite this, workers in California have no legal protection against punishment or bias based on a positive test for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites, which can stay present in a user’s system long after use. In 2008 — 12 years after the legalization of medical cannabis use with Proposition 215 — the California Legislature passed a measure intended to protect medicinal cannabis users from workplace discrimination, but the measure was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.
"Urine and hair metabolite tests for marijuana wrongly discriminate against workers for off-the-job use that has no effect on job safety or performance. They detect inactive drug residues that stay in the system for days and weeks after use,” added Dale Gieringer, Director of the California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “Employers who are concerned about on-the-job drug use can detect it more reliably with performance-based tests or oral screens that detect the active presence of THC. We urge the City of Los Angeles to support an end to the abusive, unnecessary, obnoxious, and discriminatory practice of urine testing for cannabis "
AB 1256 follows the lead of twenty-one states with current laws protecting employment rights for medical cannabis users, and five states, plus several cities such as New York City and Washington DC, protecting recreational cannabis consumers’ employment rights.