Effective January 1, the old urine test for marijuana use will be pretty much outlawed in California, and employers in the state won’t be able to enquire about your off-the-clock cannabis use.
Many of us know the drill: You’re interviewing for a new job, so you have to head down to Rainbow Grocery and get one of those “THC cleanser” products that will allegedly clean the traces of marijuana out of your pee so you can pass the drug test. Or if you’re facing the dreaded hair test, you actually have to stop smoking weed for a couple of weeks! But those days may be over, friends, as CalMatters reports on two new cannabis laws coming January 1; one which will effectively outlaw the urine or hair tests for cannabis in most professions, and another that would bar employers from asking about your off-the-job cannabis use.
The new law forbidding most hair and urine tests is called AB-2188, which Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law about 15 months ago, but it’s just slowly kicking in now. The rationale is that those urine and blood tests do not measure intoxication, they simply measure whether you’ve used cannabis in recent weeks. Considering cannabis is now legal, there is no law against using it on your own time, and the tests cannot detect on-the-job drug use.
California NORML said in a statement to Cal Matters that “Studies indicate that metabolite tests for past use of marijuana are useless in protecting job safety.”
There are exceptions, though, for some occupations. Building and construction workers can still be drug-tested for cannabis using hair and urine methods, as can any candidate whose employment merits a federal background clearance or investigation. And employers can still test for illegal drugs, and can still use other testing methods like blood tests.
Meanwhile, the other bill AB-700 amends the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to prohibit employers from asking job applicants about prior cannabis use. It only applies to cannabis use, not sales, or any other crimes related to cannabis. So if you went to jail for smuggling marijuana to Texas, or had gun charges related to the cannabis trade, a prospective employer could still ask about that.
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