New US Laws on Drug Testing Employees

Liz Filmer
05 Jan 2024

Two new laws that protect cannabis users from employment discrimination have gone into effect in California and the state of Washington.

Under legislation passed by California lawmakers, employers will be stopped from discriminating against workers who test positive for cannabis in some drug screenings. A separate bill that passed in 2023 already stops employers from asking current employees or job candidates about their cannabis use outside of work.

The new law does have some exceptions in the cases of employees who are in the building and construction industry, who do not gain the same employee protections. The legislation also does not cover workers and job applicants who require a federal background check or security clearance.

Cannabis policy reform advocates are pleased with the news as they have long been critical of drug screenings that rely on hair or urine samples. This is because they can return positive results weeks after cannabis was used and do not indicate impairment at the time the sample was taken. The legislation that went into effect in January will improve the employment conditions for the state’s workers.

“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. Numerous studies have found that workers who test positive for cannabis metabolites have no higher risk of workplace accidents.” The Cannabis Policy Reform Advocacy Group

Weed users in the state of Washington have also gained new job protections since January 1st and job applicants will now be protected from discrimination during the hiring process based on their legal use of cannabis. 

More on this topic from Soft Secrets:

Charges for Federal Cannabis Offences Falls

Just Shut the F Up


Liz Filmer