Washington D.C. Now Prohibits Most Employers From Punishing Marijuana Consumers

A law has taken effect in Washington, D.C. that prohibits most private employers from punishing an individual for using marijuana while off the job.

The new law, which took effect today, prohibits employers “from firing, failing to hire, or taking other personnel actions against an individual for use of cannabis, participating in the medical cannabis program, or failure to pass an employer-required or requested cannabis drug test, unless the position is designated safety sensitive or for other enumerated reasons”.

Although the law applies to most jobs, it would not apply to certain positions such as police, jobs that require a commercial driver’s license and jobs “with the potential to significantly impact the health or safety of employees or members of the public”.

“Currently, the District prohibits pre-employment drug testing for cannabis before a conditional job offer and prohibits adverse actions against District employees who are medical cannabis patients,” states the measure’s text. “Employees in the private sector do not have such protections despite adult use being legal in the District. This bill will change that.”

Employers are required to notify employees about the change in law.

Although the law was signed by Mayor Bowser in 2022, a provision of the ordinance prevented it from taking effect until 365 days had passed. The proposal has already made it through a congressional review without being vetoed.

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