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California's New Cannabis Law and Its Impact on the Workplace

Braedon Stern

California is making headlines with its progressive stance on recreational cannabis use. Assembly Bill 2188, effective from January 1, 2024, marks a significant shift in employer-employee dynamics regarding off-duty cannabis consumption. Here's a rundown of the key points from an insightful article featuring Jilian Dimitt, VP of Human Resources at Optima Office.

Understanding Assembly Bill 2188

The new law protects employees from disciplinary actions by employers for off-duty cannabis use. While workplace drug testing remains permissible, it cannot be a basis for penalizing employees unless they are under the influence during work hours.

Jilian Dimitt's Perspective on the New Law

Jilian Dimitt views this law as beneficial for employers. It clarifies that recreational cannabis use outside of work will not be grounds for adverse actions. However, she emphasizes that employees must not be under the influence at work, nor should they bring cannabis into the workplace.

Testing Challenges

The law necessitates a new form of testing that identifies active impairment from THC. Yet, cannabis lifestyle reporter Jackie Bryant raises concerns about the practicality and feasibility of such tests. Current technology doesn't accurately determine acute intoxication from THC, potentially leading to legal complications.

Limitations and Exemptions

It's important to note that this law doesn't apply to the construction or building industry, federal workers, or jobs requiring federal background checks. For all other sectors, HR professionals are advised to update their workplace policies accordingly.

Looking Ahead

This development signals a broader societal shift in attitudes towards cannabis. The California legislature hopes the law will spur the creation and refinement of more accurate THC tests. For a deeper dive into this topic, read the full article or watch the video.


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