Virginia: Second Senate Committee Approves Bill to Protect Public Employees Who Use Medical Marijuana

A second Senate committee in Virginia has voted to pass a House-approved bill that would protect public employees who legally use medical marijuana.

House Bill 149 extends a law protecting medical marijuana users from workplace discrimination to include public employees, while expanding the definition to include marijuana products and not just oil. The measure was passed today through the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services by a vote of 10 to 5. The vote comes four days after the measure passed the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor  14 to 0. On January 29 the proposal passed the full House of Representatives 78 to 20.

Under current law “No employer shall discharge, discipline, or discriminate against an employee for such employee’s lawful use of cannabis oil pursuant to a valid written certification issued by a practitioner for the treatment or to eliminate the symptoms of the employee’s diagnosed condition or disease”.

HB 149 would amends this provision “by specifying that such use must conform to the laws of the Commonwealth and that such protections extend to the employees of the Commonwealth and other public bodies.”

This would allow the provision to apply to public employees such as teachers.

The measure would also amend the discrimination provision to include “cannabis products” and not just “cannabis oil”.

If the legislation is passed by the full Senate it will be sent to Governor Glenn Youngkin for final consideration.

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