November 13, 2023

California Bans Pre-Employment Marijuana Screening

In 2023, Ohio, Minnesota, and Delaware passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana use, marking 24 states that now allow for the recreational use of marijuana.

As marijuana sees greater legalization, there has been a steady growth in states and localities taking action on marijuana policies related to employment.

Governor Gavin Newsome signed California Senate Bill 700 into law, banning pre-employment drug testing for marijuana. Like similar legislation, the bill states that employees are not permitted to possess, to be impaired by, or to use, cannabis on the job, or affect the rights or obligations of an employer to maintain a drug- and alcohol-free workplace.

Additionally, this law does not preempt state or federal laws requiring applicants or employees to be tested for controlled substances.

Earlier in 2023, Washington State also banned pre-employment drug screenings for cannabis, and back in 2019, the state of Nevada and New York City also banned employers from utilizing pre-employment cannabis screenings.

While states and major localities are leading the way on establishing employment policies surrounding marijuana use, other regulations are popping up as well.

For instance, the New Jersey Attorney General recently issued a directive that allows for police officers to use marijuana off-the-clock, in accordance with the state’s marijuana law, as long as they are not impaired at work. However, that rule is currently being challenged by a lawsuit by Jersey City officials.

Regardless of the outcomes of this lawsuit, it is clear that marijuana regulations are becoming more permissive across the country, allowing for personal use when away from the worksite and off-the-clock, a trend that should bear monitoring.


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