CA: Bill Protecting Medical Marijuana Users At Work Is Shelved

Photo Credit: Grant Hindsley

A bill that would prevent employers from discriminating against medical marijuana users was shelved by the Assembly.

AB 2069 is currently “held under submission”- meaning the Appropriations Committee wants more time to work on or discuss the bill.

AB 2069 was authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta and introduced in February. It would require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for those using marijuana to treat a known physical or mental disability. It would also ban employers from not hiring prospective employees, or firing current employees, because they have a medical marijuana ID card. The bill text does state:

“It is not the intent of the Legislature to prohibit an employer from terminating the employment of, or taking other corrective action against, an employee who is impaired on the property or premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment because of the medical use of medical cannabis.”

AB 2069 also does not prohibit employers from “refusing to hire an individual or discharging an employee who is a qualified patient or person with an identification card, as those terms are defined in Section 11362.7 of the Health and Safety Code, if hiring the individual or failing to discharge the employee would cause the employer to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulations.”

11 states currently have laws protecting medical cannabis patients against employment discrimination: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

In California, the existing fair Employment and Housing Act protects employees from being discriminated against due to race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status.

AB 2069 did pass the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on April 26 by a vote of 5-1.