Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On June 7, 2022, the Washington, District of Columbia (D.C.) City Council unanimously passed a bill named the Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act of 2022 (Bill 24-109) that would prevent employers from firing or refusing to hire employees who fail marijuana drug tests if approved by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The bill would ban employers from firing or refusing to hire for recreational marijuana use and also require them to evaluate “medical marijuana to treat a disability in the same manner as it would treat the legal use of a controlled substance prescribed by or taken under the supervision of a licensed health care professional.”

However, employers that act under federal guidelines or have employees consume marijuana at work would not be considered violators of the legislation, which also prohibits the “possession, storage, delivery, transfer, display, transportation, sale, purchase, or growing of cannabis at the employee’s place of employment.” 

In addition, the bill would not cover employees working in “safety-sensitive” occupations – such as police, security guards, construction workers, heavy machinery operators, health care workers, caretakers, or gas and power company employees – and would exclude employees of the federal government and D.C. courts.

If the Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act of 2022 is signed into law by Mayor Bowser, employers would have 60 days to notify employees of their new rights under the Act and whether they are designated as safety-sensitive employees. Employers would have to provide this notice annually and for each new hire.

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