Commenting not one bit on the merits of medical marijuana, this is addled:
In California, where a referendum legalized medical marijuana, the state legislature has now gone much further and passed a bill, AB 2279, that would force private employers to hire medical marijuana users except for “safety-sensitive” positions that employers can prove would “clearly” be highly risky. In California, it seems, private employers are forced to personally condone everything that is legal, no matter how controversial it might be. The idea that the government should just stay out of the matter and leave both private employers and medical marijuana users alone is apparently beyond the comprehension of most California legislators, who think that everything permitted must be made mandatory.
Next: Smoking rooms for marijuana smokers, ONLY.
Bill text is here. Excerpt from summary:
This bill, notwithstanding existing law, would declare it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person, if the discrimination is based upon the person’s status as a qualified patient or a positive drug test for marijuana, except as specified. The bill would authorize a person who has suffered discrimination in violation of the bill to institute and prosecute a civil action for damages, injunctive relief, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, any other appropriate equitable relief, as specified, and any other relief the court may deem proper. The bill would provide that it would not prohibit an employer from terminating the employment of, or taking other corrective action against, an employee who is impaired on the property or premises of the place of employment, or during the hours of employment, because of the medical use of marijuana.
(From Hans Bader, Open Markets blog.)
UPDATE (12:25 p.m.): From the California Manufacturers and Technology Association:
Recently, the California Supreme Court (in Ross v. Raging Wire Telecommunications, January 2008) reinforced the employer’s right in California to require pre-employment drug tests and take illegal drug use into consideration in making employment decisions. The court also ruled that since marijuana is illegal under federal law, businesses have the right to fire anyone who tests positive for it. Assemblymember Leno (the author of AB 2279) believes that the voters that passed the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 also intended to protect employment status for users of medical marijuana. Nevertheless, the court found that nothing in the text or history of the Act showed intent to address rights and duties of employers and employees.
The California Supreme Court’s opinion is here.
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