Even though the proposal to legalize marijuana for all purposes (not merely medicinal) failed in the California polls last November, state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) has proposed SB 129 – a piece of legislation that would remove employers’ ability to fire or refusing to hire people based on a positive marijuana test if that person is registered medical marijuana patient.
This legislation was part of the original bill voted down last fall.
While it restricts the hiring or firing of people who test positive for the drugs, employees who are under the influence of cannabis while on the job could still be fired.
After introducing the bill – which has just passed the California Senate Judiciary Committee – late last month, Senator Leno said, “When Californians approved the compassionate use of cannabis [with Prop 215], they never intended for it to apply only to unemployed people.”
Cliff Newell, District Attorney for Nevada County has said that he opposes this bill for many of the same reasons he was in opposition to last fall’s Proposition 19: he believes it legitimizes marijuana use in cases where it’s not necessary.
Proponents of the bill, including members of the Yes on 19 campaign, say that under existing law, employers can discriminate against medical marijuana patients.
As of last Friday, the California State Senate was still discussing the bill.