CALIFORNIA, USA — With a swipe of his pen, Gov. Gavin Newsom made California the seventh state to protect workers who smoke marijuana while off-the-clock.
The bill was among a series of cannabis-related bills that expanded the legal market and addressed harms from past cannabis bans.
“For too many Californians, the promise of cannabis legalization remains out of reach,” said Governor Newsom. “These measures build on the important strides our state has made toward this goal, but much work remains to build an equitable, safe and sustainable legal cannabis industry. I look forward to partnering with the Legislature and policymakers to fully realize cannabis legalization in communities across California.”
Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) authored AB 2188. It protects workers from employment discrimination based on their use of cannabis while off-the-clock. State lawmakers passed the bill last month, which would stop companies from punishing workers who fail a certain type of drug test that detects not whether a person is high, but whether the person has used marijuana at all in recent days.
These tests, which rely on urine or hair samples, look for a substance that the body makes when it breaks down THC, the main psychoactive compound in marijuana. But that substance, called metabolites, can remain in a person's body for weeks after using marijuana, according to the Mayo Clinic. It means people can fail a drug test even though they are not impaired.
It along with AB 1706, a bill that seals old cannabis-related convictions, were meant to "unwind California's failed history of cannabis prohibition," according to Newsom's office.
Also among the signed bills were SB 1326, which makes a process for California to allow cannabis transactions with entities outside the state, and SB 1186, which preempts local bans on medicinal cannabis delivery.
All the bills are meant to strengthen the state's cannabis legalization framework. Other bills signed by the governor regarding cannabis can be seen below.
- AB 1706 by Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) – Cannabis crimes: resentencing.
- AB 1646 by Assemblymember Phillip Chen (R-Yorba Linda) – Cannabis packaging: beverages.
- AB 1885 by Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) – Cannabis and cannabis products: animals: veterinary medicine.
- AB 1894 by Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) – Integrated cannabis vaporizer: packaging, labeling, advertisement, and marketing.
- AB 2210 by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) – Cannabis: state temporary event licenses: venues licensed by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control: unsold inventory.
- AB 2188 by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) – Discrimination in employment: use of cannabis.
- AB 2568 by Assemblymember Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) – Cannabis: insurance providers.
- AB 2925 by Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) – California Cannabis Tax Fund: spending reports.
- SB 1186 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) – Medicinal Cannabis Patients’ Right of Access Act.
- SB 1326 by Senator Anna Caballero (D-Merced) – Cannabis: interstate agreements.
The governor also called on the California Department of Public Health to survey scientific research and policy mechanisms to address high-potency cannabis and hemp products and prioritized funding research related to cannabis potency.