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Breaking: New Workplace Protections for Cannabis Users

AB 2188 prohibits employers from using pre-employment drug screening results to disqualify candidates


In a landmark shift, California is setting a precedent in employee rights concerning cannabis usage. This move, embodied in the recent amendment to the Fair Employment and Housing Act (AB 2188), marks a significant departure from traditional workplace drug policies. Let's delve into this historical moment, tracing back to the origins of drug testing for marijuana in the USA, and understand how this new legislation impacts California workers.


AB 2188 prohibits employers from using pre-employment drug screening results to disqualify candidates
AB 2188 prohibits employers from using pre-employment drug screening results to disqualify candidates

The Historical Context of Drug Testing for Marijuana


  • Early Stages: The journey begins in the late 20th century when drug testing for marijuana first emerged in the United States.

  • Medical Marijuana Legalization: California pioneered the legalization of medical marijuana in 1996, a bold step diverging from longstanding federal policies.

  • Recreational Use Legalization: Fast forward to 2016, California further liberalized its stance by legalizing recreational marijuana usage.


AB 2188: A Game-Changer for California Employees


  • Protection from Discrimination: From January 1, 2024, California employees will enjoy protection against discrimination for using cannabis outside work hours.

  • Employment and Cannabis Use: AB 2188 prohibits employers from using pre-employment drug screening results to disqualify candidates if they indicate past marijuana use. It represents a shift towards assessing impairment at work rather than penalizing long-term usage.


Navigating the New Norms of Legal Cannabis


  • Understanding the Exceptions: While AB 2188 is groundbreaking, it maintains certain restrictions, including prohibiting cannabis use during work hours and maintaining drug-and-alcohol-free workplaces.

  • Special Cases: Employees in specific sectors, like building and construction, or those seeking federal employment, may still face restrictions regarding cannabis use.


Redifining Workplace Cannabis Drug Policies


California’s AB 2188 is a historic step towards acknowledging and adapting to the evolving societal views on cannabis. By protecting employees who legally use marijuana outside of work, California is redefining workplace drug policies, setting a possible trend for other states to follow.


Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific legal advice, please consult a licensed attorney.



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