One of the most egregious omissions in Prop. 64 was any measure protecting employees from arbitrary firing for using marijuana off-the-job. A toke on Saturday night could get you fired on Monday.
Riding to the rescue are California Assemblymen Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) and Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) with their marijuana using employee protection bill AB 2069. The bill, if enacted, would provide the protection of non-discrimination in employment to users of marijuana who have obtained a medical marijuana recommendation.
If an employer found out that an employee or potential employee was a medical marijuana patient, or that the employee had tested positive for marijuana, AB 2069 would make it illegal for the employer to:
“Refuse to hire or employ the person or to refuse to select the person for a training program leading to employment, or to bar or to discharge the person from employment or from a training program leading to employment, or to discriminate against the person in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.”
That means that peeing in a cup would no longer be grounds for dismissal if the only metabolite found in your urine was the THC you inhaled the previous night. Drug testing companies will no doubt ferociously fight this bill as pee-testing is a multi-billion dollar business, but don’t sell your drug-testing company stocks as employers can still pee-test you for a laundry list of other verboten substances.
The need for this legislation came about because of a 2008 “screw-the-fourth-and-fifth-amendment” ruling by the California Supreme Court in a lawsuit filed by medical marijuana patient Gary Ross under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) against Raging Wire Telecommunications. Ross had been fired because he tested positive for marijuana use.
In Ross v. Raging Wire Telecommunications, Inc. the California Supreme Court ruled that an employer was not required to accommodate an employee’s medicinal marijuana use. The court's opinion found that because marijuana is illegal under federal law, it could not be legalized for medical purposes and that marijuana could not be given the legal status as a prescription drug. Since the FEHA does not require employers to accommodate illegal drug use, the Supreme Court held that the employer could fire the employee for using marijuana even though it was for medical purposes.
By adding medical marijuana patients to the list of protected classes such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and eleven other classes, medical marijuana users would now be protected and employers would no longer be able to fire an employee who tested positive for marijuana use and possessed a medical marijuana recommendation.
Although most marijuana users have not obtained a doctor’s recommendation, those who wanted to protect their jobs could do so. Since most people's health benefits from the use of marijuana, it is relatively easy to obtain a medical marijuana recommendation. The renewed interest in medical marijuana recommendations could prove a boon to medical marijuana doctors whose offices, since the passage of Prop. 64, have been closing faster than poppies at sunset.
Of note is that the bill’s author Rob Bonta is not concerned if it causes people to become medical marijuana patients instead of remaining recreational users. According to the Californian, Bonta is “more concerned with keeping people away from opioids than with correcting a potentially inflated medical marijuana market.” Health and safety trumps reefer madness – a truly unique and refreshing perspective from a legislator.
There are two exemptions that would still allow an employer to fire an employee for marijuana use even if they are a medical marijuana patient.
Exemption #1 - An employee using medical marijuana on the job could be fired as could employees who are unable to perform their job or appear intoxicated due to the consumption of marijuana.
Exemption #2 - Because marijuana remains a Schedule 1 narcotic under the federal Controlled Substance Act, companies that contract with the federal government are required to maintain a drug-free workplace. Due to this federal regulation companies that could “lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulations” would not be in violation of AB 2069 for terminating employees for off-work marijuana use.
Even with this distasteful “safe harbor” provision, this will be a very difficult bill to get passed. In the past, similar bills have been opposed by a consortium of police and industry such as the California Hospital Association, the California Employment Law Council and the California Police Chiefs Association.
Expected to be introduced in March, this most necessary and critical piece of the puzzle for ending marijuana prohibition will be one of the most-watched and controversial pieces of legislation in the 2018 session.
HOW TO TURN TRUMP'S LATEST THREATS INTO GOOD NEWS
President Trump has threatened to pull Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents out of California if the state goes ahead with its sanctuary bills. The Daily Koss and Newsweek reported the following:
“Frankly, it’s a disgrace, the sanctuary city situation,” Trump said at the White House. "Frankly, if I wanted to pull our people from California, you would have a crime nest like you've never seen in California. If we ever pulled our ICE out, and we ever said, ‘Hey, let California alone, let them figure it out for themselves,’ in two months they’d be begging for us to come back. They would be begging. And you know what, I’m thinking about doing it."
Maybe we can get The Trump to threaten to pull out DEA agents if we pass Jones-Sawyers AB 1578 which is in essence a Ganja Sanctuary Bill which prevents cops from cooperating with feds in the arrest and apprehension of legal marijuana businesses. If California also passes the MJ using employee protection bill maybe we can also get Sessions to threaten to pull out the DOJ Prosecuting Attorneys.
Palm Springs Threatens Cannabis Infused Fundraiser
San Bernardino Co. Refuses to Talk
Democratic Convention Report
Hear it all and more at the
MARCH MAPP meets
What happened at the CaDEM convention may be very uplifting but the strange behavior of Palm Springs’ City Attorney in refusing to allow a cannabis consuming fundraiser to go forward is perplexing. In addition we will be discussing what can be done regarding the refusal of San Bernardino Counties 3rd District Supervisor James Ramos to meet with his constituents from the Morongo Basin concerning implementing the provisions of Prop. 64 allowing for commercial marijuana businesses.
Info on the Moreno Valley meeting will be in the next newsletter.
Saturday, March. 3 at 12 noon - Palm Springs/Coachella Valley meeting – Meeting held at Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Dr., downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Saturday, March 3 at 3 p.m. - Joshua Tree/Morongo Basin meeting – Meeting held at Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.
Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m. – Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting –. Meeting held at Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
Bring a guest and you will both receive a free pocket pipe. Everyone can enjoy a delightful assortment of cookies with milk and punch.
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