How Washington’s New Marijuana Law Can Help You

January 09, 2024

A new law concerning marijuana users went into effect on January 1, 2024, in Washington. This law is Senate Bill 5123 (SB 5123). It intends to improve employment opportunities for marijuana users. 

According to SB 5123, employers cannot discriminate against job applicants based on off-duty marijuana use. It also prevents discrimination for use away from the worksite. The law also bans employers from using the results of pre-employment drug tests that screen for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites to make hiring decisions.

Washington has decided to ban employers from making hiring decisions based on the results of these tests. This decision is because such results do not predict an applicant’s future job performance. Furthermore, it does not prove whether someone is currently under the influence of marijuana.

Tests screening for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites can give a positive result even if the applicant used the product weeks ago. False positives happen because these metabolites stay in a person’s system after metabolizing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the active chemical in marijuana that triggers positive test results.

SB 5123 could help prevent discrimination toward marijuana users searching for work. According to supporters, it will prevent employers from restricting job opportunities for marijuana users. The law states, “It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person in the initial hiring for employment if the discrimination is based upon:

  • The person’s use of cannabis off the job and away from the 

workplace; or

  • An employer-required drug screening test that has found the 

person to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, 

blood, urine, or other bodily fluids.”

However, SB 5123 offers several exceptions for eligible circumstances. For example, employers may continue using tests that do not screen for non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites. It also allows employers to maintain a drug-free workplace. Finally, SB 5123 does not affect an employer’s obligations or rights under federal regulation or law.

As such, accidents at work can lead to drug tests that include marijuana screening. You should also know that employers may test you for marijuana if they suspect that marijuana is influencing you while working. Despite these exceptions, SB 5123 can still significantly improve your job opportunities.

When preparing for a job opportunity, consider running a self-background check. A self-check can improve your chances by ensuring employers see accurate information. It also allows you to make corrections if you find errors or plan how to explain any negative records.

Try running a self background check today and give yourself a head start on your next job opportunity.