CALIFORNIA PERSONNEL BOARD RULES THAT FAILING A URINE TEST FOR MARIJUANA IS NOT PROOF OF EMPLOYEE’S IMPAIRMENT OR GROUNDS FOR DISMISSAL
June 17, 2021 – The California State Personnel Board (SPB), established in the state constitution, provides direction to departments about civil service laws, rules, and policy, and also investigates and adjudicates alleged violations of civil service law which are filed by employees, applicants, and members of the public.
Darrin Harper brought such an allegation against the California Department of Transportation, which refused to reinstate him on his job after he failed a urine test for marijuana use. The SPB ruled that a urine test does not establish that an employee is under the influence of marijuana when reporting for duty, and therefore “does not justify discipline.” The ruling reinstates Mr. Harper to his CA DOT job.
The ruling doesn’t protect employees who are “impaired or under the influence from marijuana, alcohol, or any other substance while at work or while on standby for work.” It concludes, “the Board notes that it does not take a position on whether using marijuana is a good thing or a bad thing. The voters have spoken and legalized it in the State of California. Given that reality, State Agencies are powerless to discipline employees, like Appellant, whose test showed only that marijuana had been ingested or used sometime in the past, but that Appellant was not under the influence of marijuana while on duty.”
The ruling should protect all state employees against employment discrimination due to unwarranted drug testing, at least for inactive THC metabolites (as urine and hair testing do). Unfortunately it won’t protect government workers at the city or county levels, nor employees at private companies.
A Cal NORML-sponsored bill to protect employees in California against drug tests for marijuana that do not prove impairment, AB 1256, has been introduced in the legislature as a two-year bill, to be heard in committee later this year or in 2022. Read more about Cal NORML’s employment rights campaign
Also see: Caltrans fired a dad over a marijuana pee test. Here’s why that won’t happen again
Excerpts from CA State Personnel Board decision at: https://www.spb.ca.gov/content/precedential/Harper031721.pdf
In this case, Appellant, a CalTrans Highway Maintenance Worker, submitted to a drug test upon his return to duty after an extended leave of absence. The urinalysis test revealed the presence of delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) [sic – it was an inactive metabolite] in his system, which establishes that Appellant had, at some prior point in time, inhaled or ingested marijuana or a marijuana-infused substance. There were no allegations in the Notice of Adverse Action (NOAA), nor proof at the evidentiary hearing, that Appellant was under the influence of marijuana when he reported for duty or on standby for duty or that he possessed or used marijuana while on duty or on standby. Under these circumstances, a positive urinalysis test for marijuana, without more, does not justify discipline under any of the charges in the NOAA.
Respondent, however, contends that, by virtue of designating Highway Maintenance Workers under California Code of Regulation, title 2, section 599.9613 testing positive for marijuana as a safety sensitive employee is a basis for discipline.
This decision does not impact peace officers who are expressly prohibited from using any mind-altering substance regardless of its legality. To protect the public and ensure the safety and security of its correctional institutions, the state must ensure that its peace officers do not use illegal drugs, or misuse prescription drugs, unauthorized or other illegal mind-altering substances under any circumstances, (Cal. Code of Reg., tit. 2, § 599.960, subd. (e).)
Nothing in this decision should be interpreted to excuse or shield an employee from discipline if they are impaired or under the influence from marijuana, alcohol, or any other substance while at work or while on standby for work. Such conduct remains prohibited under section 599.960, subdivision (b), and may also violate the employing department’s workplace policy.
The post Ruling Protects CA State Employees Against Discrimination For Off-The-Job Marijuana Use appeared first on CANORML.
Senate Bill 60 permits certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants to issue medical cannabis recommendations to those ages 18 and older. The measure took immediate effect upon passage.
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“Marginalized communities have disproportionately suffered for decades because of the discriminatory enforcement of marijuana laws in Connecticut. This bill is a step toward addressing that shameful legacy and it will provide long-needed relief to communities that have historically experienced the collateral consequences of prohibition.”
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House Bill 1535 allows physicians to recommend medical cannabis to patients with PTSD and all forms of cancer. The measure also raise the cap on THC from 0.5 to one percent.
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The House is expected to take up the proposal Wednesday.
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“The passage of this legislation is great progress toward ending the racially discriminatory policy of branding otherwise law-abiding Louisianans as criminals for minor marijuana possession offenses when law enforcement should instead be focusing on fighting legitimate crime.”
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The suit claimed that the initiative language was unconstitutional because it earmarked a portion of tax revenues from retail marijuana sales.
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This June 17th marks the 50th anniversary of President Nixon’s declaration of the War on Drugs. The evidence is clear that the drug war has failed; 83% of Americans say so in a recent ACLU poll.
Cal NORML is declaring a day of “drug peace” in support of more effective, equitable, and humane policies and is circulating following declaration to lawmakers asking for their support:
The War on Drugs is a war on people. Since 1971, California has recorded over 10 million felony drug arrests, including 1 million felony marijuana arrests.
The War on Drugs has disproportionately criminalized the disadvantaged the poor, and racial and ethnic minorities. Blacks were four times more likely than whites to be arrested for a marijuana crime in California in 2019, when Latinx people were twice as likely to be arrested for marijuana as whites.
The War on Drugs is a crime-creation program. The drug laws provide economic opportunity for underground dealers, smugglers, cartels, and narcotics police, while criminalizing millions of users.
While California has rightly moved to legalize cannabis, excessive regulations and taxes at state and local levels handicap the licensed industry and continue to feed the illicit market. The barriers are especially burdensome to less wealthy equity applicants.
The War on Drugs has not solved our drug abuse problem. Tragically, it has failed to stem an epidemic of opiate abuse fed by prescription drugs, heroin and fentanyl.
Meanwhile, U.S. law still bans the medical use of cannabis, despite overwhelming evidence that it can effectively reduce opiate abuse in the treatment of chronic pain.
U.S. law likewise bars research using state-legal cannabis.
Californians have repeatedly shown they are fed up with crime-creating drug laws by voting for Prop. 215, Prop. 36, Prop. 47, and Prop 64.
We therefore call for designating June 17, 2021 as a day of Drug Peace, and join 65% of Americans in calling for an end to the US’s unjust and racist War on Drugs.
The post Cal NORML Calls for Drug Peace Day on June 17 appeared first on CANORML.
Welcome to the latest edition of NORML’s Weekly Legislative Roundup!
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Patients diagnosed with either Huntington’s disease, spasticity or severe muscle spasms, or a terminal illness are now eligible to receive authorizations to access medical cannabis.
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