Legal Limbo

2010 August 17
by Dave

This November, California voters will be asked to vote on a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana possession and both legalize and tax its distribution, sale and production. This will leave users in an interesting legal situation beyond the conflict of federal and state drug laws. While it will be legal for people to buy, use, and grow pot, they will be putting their jobs on the line to do so.

Current California legal precedent regarding medical marijuana  is that at will employees who fail a drug test can be terminated even if they are using marijuana under the direction of a doctor as provided for in current state law. If Prop 19 passes, employers will still be allowed to terminate employees testing positive for marijuana use.

California law does put limits on when employers can require drug tests. New hires can be required to take a drug test as a condition of employment. So don’t smoke pot if you are looking for work, even if it is legal. Current employees can only be tested if the employer has reason to suspect drug use. At Walmart, if you get hurt at work, you have to pee in the cup.

Thus, even if it is legalized, you might not want to smoke pot on the weekend if you plan on telling your boss about it, or if you plan on getting run over by a fork lift at work. Putting a “Yes on 19” bumper sticker on your car might be a bad idea too.

You should probably just get a job at your local medical marijuana co-op. They would never fire you for failing a pee test.

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