NewsLocal News


New California law bans employers from marijuana screening

Posted at 6:20 PM, Sep 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 21:20:18-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — At Hikei Modern Cannabis in southeast San Diego, there are all kinds of products, and all of them are legal, but manager Nikki Eck says there's still a major stigma around it.

"To the point where people definitely like want discreet deliveries and don't want their neighbors to know."

She says some people are especially worried about their employers finding out, but this week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law that could change that.

"This is a big step." Jessica McElfresh is a criminal defense attorney specializing in cannabis law. She says there's been a push for a law like this for years.

"In 13 years I've gotten hundreds of calls from people who were denied a job even when they disclosed it up front it didn't make a difference that it was medical."

AB 2188 would apply to any cannabis use, medical or recreational. It would prohibit employers from discriminating against "a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment" based on "the person's use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace."

In other words, employers would be banned from screening for marijuana use ahead of hiring or firing someone for use outside of work.

"For the first time after 13 years of people calling me upset because they were denied a job upset because they were laid off from a job. Now we can at least point to something for some percentage of people."

Some percentage because there are exceptions, mainly for people in the building and construction trades, and those working in jobs that require federal background checks.

But those in the cannabis industry say this is a big step. "I mean people drink off the job so I don't see necessarily how smoking would be any different from that. As long as it's not affecting what you do in your workplace I don't see why there would be any problems with what people do.

The law goes into effect in 2024.