Newly Introduced Legislation Would End Job Discrimination Against Cannabis Users
Taking a tolerance break while job searching, just in case they drug test? This may no longer be necessary with the introduction of a bill that seeks to end the denial and termination of employees who test positive for cannabis.
With the legalization of marijuana spreading from state to state – with 31 states and D.C. having legalized medical marijuana and 9 states having legalized adult use – finding employees that can pass a drug test is only going to get more difficult. This issue was raised previously by former FBI director James Comey back in 2014 – but now a real solution may soon be in place.
This week, a new federal bill called the Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act (also known as HR 6589) was introduced by U.S. Representative Charlie Crist. The bill, as its name states, would end employment discrimination based solely on marijuana use in states where it is legal. With bipartisan support, as well as the support of several national cannabis advocacy organizations, this bill may be the first concrete protection from workplace discrimination for medical cannabis users.
“Medical marijuana is an issue of compassion, and in the veterans’ community, access is even more important as more and more veterans are turning to cannabis to address chronic pain and PTSD. At the same time, the federal government is the largest employer of veterans; however, private cannabis use even in states that have legalized medical marijuana is prohibited in these positions,” said Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL).
While this legislation would be beneficial to anyone hoping to work for a government agency, one of the main reasons for the bill is to protect veterans’ abilities to gain employment, regardless of whether they medicate with marijuana. At least one-third of all federal employees are veterans, and veterans also tend to use medical marijuana at higher rates than the general public due to its effectiveness in treating both post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.
“Our bipartisan bill would protect federal employment for those in compliance with their state’s cannabis laws. Because our veterans shouldn’t have to choose between treatment options or job opportunities.”
While individual states have taken measures to reform employment laws when it comes to drug testing for marijuana, this would ensure that anywhere medical marijuana is legal, its use will not prevent employment. People should never be forced to choose between a job and the medication that works best for them – especially when that medication may make doing their job more possible.