For the lucky folks over in California right now, legal recreational cannabis is officially a thing. It’s now been there for some months since California residents voted to pass Proposition 64 by a pretty healthy majority. As a result, anyone aged at least 21 now has the permission to grow a maximum of six cannabis plants for personal consumption and to carry up to an ounce of the stuff on their person. And six months from now, recreational cannabis stores all over the state will open their doors and start selling all manner of cannabis strains and products to the public.
All of which sounds like a pretty perfect scenario. But there is still one rather large and gloomy grey cloud hovering right over the heads of the California cannabis community. Despite the fact that cannabis is and will remain every bit as legal as say, tobacco and alcohol, there are big differences in the eyes of employers. If you decide to spend Friday and Saturday night getting well and truly wasted on booze, the only thing you’ll really need to worry about come Monday morning is a two-day hangover. Well, that and the obvious health implications.
But what if you were to spend the same time Friday and Saturday enjoying a relatively modest smoke? Perhaps a few edibles? Maybe the occasional toke on a vape pen? What would this mean as far as your employer is concerned?
The answer…well, it all comes down to who you work for.
The crux of the matter is relatively simple, though makes things unnecessarily complicated. As it stands, workplaces across the board and without exception in California have every right to enforce rules on drug-free workplaces, should they wish to do so. Which means that if the workplace in question has a zero-tolerance policy on cannabis, you could be in the firing line should you be tested…quite literally.
Workplace drug testing has been a controversial issue across the United States for some time now. As far as the critics are concerned, it makes no sense whatsoever to scrutinise those who are using substances that have been declared perfectly legal and safe for public use. On the other side of the fence, advocates state that as businesses are essentially private enterprises, those in charge have every right to make up their own rules. Then again, there’s the not-insignificant debate regarding discrimination.
Just because you have a modest and healthy cannabis lifestyle that in no way affects your performance, intellect or prowess in the workplace, who the hell are they to tell you that you’re not employment material?
Just as testing positive for cannabis consumption can lead to your dismissal already employed, it could also result in you being refused a job you otherwise qualify for. Clearly nonsensical, counterproductive and a great way of denying businesses prime talent. Nevertheless, it is the nonsensical side of the fence that lawmakers continue to side with.
There have been a number of cases involving those who have been dismissed or refused jobs on the grounds of cannabis consumption brought to US courts. And in pretty much every instance, it’s been a near-instant and unanimous verdict in favour of the work place in question.
Which for the time being means that there is little anyone can do other than grin and bear it. If it’s a case of choosing between your cannabis lifestyle and the job of your dreams, sadly it really could be a case of one or the other.
Not an ideal situation, but still…at least you guys have legal recreational cannabis to make you feel a little better about it all!