Nevada Bans Employers from Discriminating Based on Marijuana Use
The federal ban on marijuana presents a constant clash between the state and federal levels. While pressure on legal states has dropped substantially, marijuana’s grey area prompted many employers to test workers for marijuana prior or during employment.
In some cases, this practice is understandable. However, it served no purpose in most industries.
But according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Nevada has decided to address this issue, passing a law to ban marijuana as grounds for termination or refusal to hire.
An Unprecedented Move
Named Assembly Bill 132, Nevada’s new law will take effect on January 1st of next year. Most notably, however, is that the U.S. has never seen a bill like this before on such a large scale (New York City passed a similar law at the municipal level months ago).
But given the fact that states have autonomy, it is only fair that those following state laws not be treated like criminals.
According to NORML:
“Assembly Bill 132 makes it ‘unlawful for any employer in [Nevada] to fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee because the prospective employee submitted to a screening test and the results of the screening test indicate the presence of marijuana.’”
Once implemented, this new policy will shield a lot of qualified employees from unfair and unnecessary termination.
Of course, with the diversity of industries and fields today, we evidently need some exceptions. In certain jobs, the stakes are simply too high, prompting employers to pre-test and/or regularly test for marijuana (among other drugs).
“The law is not applicable to prospective employees seeking certain safety sensitive positions, such as those seeking employment as firefighters, emergency medical technicians, or federally licensed drivers.”
Complete cognitive and motor function is critical for these professions, so those looking to work in such areas will need to abstain from cannabis use.
Will this be Effective?
Nevada’s new law is good news for employees, as they can feel secure in their jobs. However, it may not make much difference when selecting candidates.
An employer can simply disqualify an applicant based on their marijuana use and justify it legally by hiring someone else “better.”
Interestingly, this could reduce unemployed due to less terminations, but also stall it if employers secretly discriminate in their hiring process.
Some employers could fight the law, citing that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level.
WeedAdvisor’s Support for Fair Marijuana Workplace Policies
It is unfair for law-abiding citizens to be unnecessarily discounted as candidates or terminated from their jobs over legal marijuana use. Naturally, we view Bill 132 is a huge victory for working people throughout Nevada.
Hopefully, other states will adopt the same approach, as we look forward to meeting with partners and clients who can participate freely and safely in the cannabis industry.