On November 8th, Californians passed Prop 64, making it lawful for persons 21 years of age and older to possess, obtain, transport, smoke, and ingest marijuana and marijuana products under certain specific circumstances. But employers should rest assured that under the new law their ability to keep marijuana out of the workplace will not go up in smoke.
The new law specifically states that nothing in it shall be construed or interpreted to “amend, repeal, affect, restrict, or preempt…the rights and obligations of public and private employers to maintain a drug and alcohol free workplace or require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale, or growth of marijuana in the workplace, or affect the ability of employers to have policies prohibiting the use of marijuana by employees and prospective employees, or prevent employers from complying with state or federal law.”
Further, marijuana is still an illegal drug under federal law.
Those things taken together mean that Prop 64 should result in very little change in the workplace. Employers still:
- Are entitled to prohibit employee use of alcohol, illegal, or controlled substances during work and on company property;
- Can prevent employees from coming to work under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or any other substance that creates an unsafe or unproductive environment; and,
- Can conduct drug testing in compliance with a lawful drug testing program.
Employers with drug free workplace policies may want to notify their employees that marijuana use, although now legal in certain circumstances under the new law, is still not permitted at work.