A partir del 1 de enero de 2024, la mayoría de los californianos estarán protegidos por un proyecto de ley patrocinado por Cal NORML que establece que los empleadores no pueden negarse a contratar, despedir o penalizar a un empleado basándose en los resultados de análisis de marihuana en cabello u orina. Los empleados no pueden verse afectados por el canabis en el trabajo y pueden estar sujetos a un hisopo oral o un análisis de sangre. Los empleados federales y aquellos en el sector de la construcción no están protegidos.
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Una nueva ley (AB 2188 – GC 12954) prohibirá que los empleadores discriminen contra la contratación o el despido de una persona que haya dado positivo en la prueba de metabolitos de canabis no psicoactivos en la orina, el cabello o los fluidos corporales. También permite a los empleados que han sufrido discriminación por dar positivo en metabolitos de canabis no psicoactivos iniciar acciones civiles por daños y otras compensaciones contra sus empleadores.
La ley no interfiere con el derecho de los empleadores a mantener un lugar de trabajo libre de drogas. Permite otros tipos de pruebas que pueden indicar un deterioro real en el trabajo, como pruebas de rendimiento basadas en computadora y pruebas químicas de THC activo en el fluido oral, el aliento o la sangre que son un mejor indicador del uso reciente. Muchos de los principales proveedores de pruebas de drogas ofrecen pruebas de hisopo oral o alcoholímetro, que son menos invasivas que las pruebas de orina o cabello.
No están protegidos por la ley los trabajadores del sector de la construcción y los empleados sujetos a normas federales de pruebas de drogas, como los conductores de camiones comerciales.
Las empresas que aceptan subvenciones o financiación federal suelen estar obligadas a seguir la ley de lugar de trabajo libre de drogas, pero esto no exige pruebas de detección de drogas, sólo prohíbe el consumo de drogas en el trabajo.
El gobierno federal ha aprobado el hisopo oral para reemplazar las pruebas de orina para camioneros y otros trabajadores federales, pero aún no ha aprobado ningún laboratorio para procesar pruebas de hisopos orales.
¿QUÉ HAY DE MAL CON LAS PRUEBAS DE METABOLITOS?
Las pruebas de metabolitos no detectan un deterioro real, sino más bien la presencia de residuos de canabis no psicoactivos que permanecen en el sistema días y semanas después del uso, mucho después de que los efectos hayan desaparecido.
Numerosos estudios han encontrado que los trabajadores que dan positivo en metabolitos no tienen un mayor riesgo de sufrir accidentes laborales. Dependiendo de su sensibilidad, los análisis de sangre y de líquido oral detectan la presencia de THC sólo durante unas horas, o posiblemente hasta un día.
Probar o amenazar con analizar fluidos corporales para detectar metabolitos de canabis ha sido la forma más común en que los empleadores acosan y discriminan a los empleados que consumen canabis legalmente en la privacidad de sus propios hogares.
Un proyecto de ley de 2023, SB 700 (Bradford), enmendó AB 2188 (GC 12954 ) para prohibir a los empleadores preguntar sobre el uso anterior de marihuana. La SB 700 fue promulgada por el gobernador Newsom el 7 de octubre de 2023 y entrará en vigor el 1 de enero de 2024, junto con la AB 2188.
La ley establece que “es ilegal que un empleador solicite información a un solicitante de empleo relacionada con el uso previo de canabis por parte del solicitante.” Hay excepciones en la ley para los empleadores que pueden preguntar sobre el historial de condenas de un solicitante según la información contenida en GC 12952 u otra ley estatal o federal.”
CÓMO EJERCER TUS DERECHOS
Aquellos que han sido discriminados debido al consumo de canabis fuera del trabajo, ya sea a través de exámenes previos al empleo, o por haber sido disciplinados o despedidos como empleado, puede presentar una queja ante el Departamento de Derechos Civiles de CA y también debe comunicarse con Cal NORML para presentar una queja y posiblemente conectarse con un abogado privado que podría ayudarlo a presentar una reclamación.
La AB 2188 fue aprobada con el apoyo de una fuerte coalición de defensores de los trabajadores, la industria y los derechos humanos. Agradecemos a estos socios por ayudar a difundir información sobre los derechos de los trabajadores en California.
Organización Nacional para la Reforma de las Leyes de Marihuana
Luchando por los derechos de los consumidores de canabis de California desde 1972
City lawmakers voted against adopting the measure outright, thereby placing it before voters this coming May.
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To be blunt, this change in public opinion is remarkable.
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“As more states have adopted legalization, public support for this policy has risen dramatically. That’s because these policies are largely working as intended and because voters prefer legalization and regulation over the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.”
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“Cannabis legalization is an issue that unites Democrats, Republicans, and Independents,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “It is imperative that elected officials respect the voters’ decision and implement this measure in a manner that is consistent with the sentiments of the majority of the electorate.”
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If enacted by Ohio’s voters on Election Day (November 7th), the possession of marijuana will become legal for adults on December 7th.
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Starting on January 1, 2024, most Californians will be protected by a Cal NORML-sponsored bill which states that employers may not refuse to hire, fire, or penalize an employee based on the results of hair or urine tests for marijuana. Employees may not be impaired by cannabis on the job, and may be subject to an oral swab or blood test. Federal employees and those in the construction trades are not protected.
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A new law (AB 2188 – GC 12954) will prohibit employers from discriminating against hiring, or terminating, a person who has tested positive for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their urine, hair, or bodily fluids. It allows employees who have experienced discrimination to institute civil action for damages and other relief against their employers.
The law does not interfere with employers’ right to maintain a drug-free workplace. It allows for other kinds of tests that can indicate actual impairment on the job, such as computer-based performance tests, and chemical tests for active THC in oral fluid, breath or blood that are a better indicator of recent use. Many major drug testing providers are offering urine tests that do not detect marijuana, and oral swab or breathalyzer tests, which are less invasive than urine or hair tests.
Not protected by the law are workers in the building and construction trades, and employees subject to federal drug-testing rules, like commercial truck drivers. Companies that accept federal grants or funding are often required to follow the Drug-Free Workplace Act, but this does not require drug testing, only disallowing drug use on the job. The federal government has approved oral-swab testing to replace urine testing for truck drivers and other federal workers, but has not yet approved any labs to process oral swab tests.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH METABOLITE TESTING
Metabolite tests don’t detect actual impairment, but rather the presence of non-psychoactive cannabis residues that stay in the system days and weeks after use, long after effects have faded. Numerous studies have found that workers who test positive for metabolites have no higher risk of workplace accidents.
Testing or threatening to test bodily fluids for cannabis metabolites has been the most common way that employers harass and discriminate against employees who lawfully use cannabis in the privacy of their own homes. Studies have shown that black people are over twice as likely as white people to be reprimanded or fired for failing drug tests.
Depending on their sensitivity, oral fluid and blood tests detect the presence of THC for only a few hours, or possibly up to one day, while still not detecting impairment.
A 2023 bill, SB 700 (Bradford), amended GC 12954 to disallow employers from asking about past marijuana use. SB 700 was signed into law by Governor Newsom on October 7, 2023 and will take effect on January 1, 2024, along with AB 2188.
The law states, “it is unlawful for an employer to request information from an applicant for employment relating to the applicant’s prior use of cannabis.” There are exceptions in the law for employers who may ask about an applicant’s conviction history under information under GC 12952, or other state or federal law.”
HOW TO EXERCISE YOUR RIGHTS
Those who have been discriminated against due to off-the-job cannabis use, whether via pre-employment screening, or being disciplined or fired as an employee, should complain to their union representative, and can file a complaint with the CA Civil Rights Department. Contact Cal NORML to make a complaint and possibly be connected with a private attorney who could help file a claim, once administrative remedies have been exhausted and a right to sue has been established with the CRD.
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A law that took effect on January 1, 2023 (AB 1954 – BPC 2228.5) prohibits physicians and health plans to have policies denying medical treatment to qualified patients with a recommendation to use medical marijuana. The only exception is if a clinical determination is made on a case-by-case basis that a “medically significant” contraindication exists.
The law states, “A physician and surgeon shall not automatically deny treatment or medication to a qualified patient based solely on a positive drug screen for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or report of medical cannabis use without first completing a case-by-case evaluation of the patient that includes, but is not limited to, a determination that the qualified patient’s use of medical cannabis is medically significant* to the treatment or medication.” It further states, “The use of medical cannabis that has been recommended by a licensed physician and surgeon shall not constitute the use of an illicit substance in the evaluation described.”
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Physicians are protected by the clause in the new law saying, “No physician and surgeon shall be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having administered treatment or medication to a qualified patient within the requirements of this section and consistent with the standard of care.” A similar exemption exists for physicians in Prop. 215, the Compassionate Care Act (HSC 11362.5) by which California voters legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2016.
Except for a single case where doctors were financially involved in a cannabis dispensary operation, the DEA has never taken action against doctors who recommend or allow the use of medical cannabis by their patients. In 2003, the US Supreme Court let stand a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that doctors have the right to recommend medical marijuana to their patients (Conant v. Walters, 309 F.3d 629 (9th Cir. 2002).
There is no law requiring pain clinics or doctors to screen out marijuana users. Medical marijuana patients are being caught up in a push to drug test in order to ensure compliance with prescription opiates. Many practitioners wrongly assume that they are obliged to screen out marijuana users as well.
*The “medically significant” exemption in AB 1954 means that a physician and surgeon must make a clinical determination that the treatment or medication “is contraindicated or is likely, or expected, to cause an adverse reaction or physical or mental harm to the qualified patient if administered or used in conjunction with THC or medical cannabis, based on the known clinical characteristics of the patient and the known characteristics and history of the patient’s treatment or medication regimen.” It can also mean the treatment or medication is expected to be ineffective, could worsen a comorbid condition, could decrease the capacity to maintain a reasonable functional ability in performing daily activities, or could pose a significant barrier to adherence to, or compliance with, the qualified patient’s drug regimen or plan of care.
STUDIES AND POLICIES ON MEDICAL CANNABIS FOR PAIN
A great many studies have found that cannabis access is associated with reduced rates of opioid use and abuse, opioid-related hospitalizations, opioid-related traffic fatalities, opioid-related drug treatment admissions, and opioid-related overdose deaths. Knowledgeable specialists therefore regard medical marijuana as an exit, rather than a gateway, to narcotic abuse.
The California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, established by the state legislature at University of California in 2000 to conduct controlled scientific studies of medical marijuana, has reported positive results in human clinical trials regarding chronic pain, in particular neuropathic pain.
In 2017, the National Academy of Science released a major report on cannabis, which concluded that chronic pain is one of the few conditions for which there is “conclusive or substantial evidence” for cannabis’s effectiveness.
In 2019 the California Medical Association House of Delegates voted to adopt a recommendation stating, “That CMA oppose policies of health plans, health systems, and hospitals that have pain management programs that automatically eliminate patients who use therapeutic cannabis.”
The US Veteran’s Administration policy is not to deny treatment to patients who are participating in state medical marijuana programs.
WHAT SHOULD PATIENTS AND DOCTORS DO?
Doctors and health plans need to review their policies to be sure they are complying with state law. They can get training from the Society of Cannabis Clinicians on proper use and dosage of cannabis medicines.
Patients who have experienced discrimination by their doctors because they use cannabis are advised to file a complaint with the CA Medical Board. See a sample letter to the Medical Board. They should also contact Cal NORML to file a complaint and possibly take legal action.
OTHER LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS IN CALIFORNIA
• “Ryan’s Law,” (HSC 1649 – 1649.6) passed in 2021, requires hospitals and certain health care facilities to permit the use of nonsmoked cannabis by patients with terminally ill diseases. SB 302 (Stern), a 2023 bill, expands these protections to seniors 65 and over with chronic medical conditions. Also see: Americans for Safe Access Patient’s Guide to Ryan’s Law
• Prop. 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act or AUMA, which California voters passed in 2016, protects the parental rights of medical marijuana patients under HSC 11362.84, which states, “The status and conduct of a qualified patient who acts in accordance with the Compassionate Use Act shall not, by itself, be used to restrict or abridge custodial or parental rights to minor children in any action or proceeding under the jurisdiction of family or juvenile court.” In addition, AB 2595 (Jones-Sawyer, 2022) requires the State Department of Social Services to treat a parent’s use of cannabis in the same manner as alcohol or legally prescribed medication under WIC 328.2.
• SB 1186 (Wiener – 2022) will require cities and counties to permit deliveries of medical cannabis in their jurisdiction starting on January 1, 2024. Local governments have begun to amend their ordinances to comply with the new law. Also see: How California Senate Bill 1186 Will Expand Medical Delivery Statewide.
• AB 258 (Levine, 2015) outlaws discrimination against medical marijuana patients who need organ transplants under HSC 7151.36.
• AB 2188 (Quirk, 2022) outlaws employment discrimination due to testing for inactive THC metabolites in urine or hair by most California employers. Employees may not be impaired on the job, and may be subject to an oral swab or blood test. SB 700 (Bradford, 2023) bans questions about past marijuana use by most employers in California. Read more.
Medical marijuana patients are often unable to find places where they can safely use their medicine. Cal NORML is working to open more cannabis consumption lounges in California. Read more.
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