California Employment Law Blog

Can California Employers Still Prohibit Marijuana Use?

Posted by Timothy B. Del Castillo | Jan 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

Smoking man

As of the first of this month, recreational marijuana use is now legal under state law.  Does that mean employers need to revise their drug use and drug testing policies to allow for marijuana use?  Nope.

Employers may continue to prohibit marijuana use and may test employees for marijuana under the same conditions employers may test for other illegal drugs.  Marijuana is still a controlled substance under Federal Law, and Attorney General Jess Sessions recently announced that Federal Law may still be enforced in states that have legalized it.  

Moreover, California's "Adult Use of Marijuana Act" (aka, Proposition 64), expressly states that the law, "allow[s] public and private employers to enact and enforce workplace policies pertaining to marijuana."  The law does not restrict or pre-empt "[t]he 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."

Drug-free workplace polices are required for some employers, and are a good idea even when they are not required.  Fortunately, Proposition 64 did not change employers' ability to maintain drug-free workplaces.  

About the Author

Timothy B. Del Castillo

Tim practices employment law in California and represents both employees and employers in federal and state courts, administrative hearings, arbitrations, mediations, and in direct negotiations. Tim also offers advice and counsel and training to businesses to help them achieve compliance with California employment laws.


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