Marijuana Users See New Employment Protections In D.C.

July 20, 2023

Washington, D.C., will soon see new rules that protect employees who use marijuana. Interested marijuana users will find these rules in the Cannabis Employment Protections Act. Though passed last year, it will take effect on July 13, 2023.

These regulations ban employers from refusing to hire applicants based on specific marijuana-related causes. In addition, employers cannot take adverse action or terminate employees for these reasons. Examples of marijuana-related causes include the following:

  • Using marijuana-related products
  • Being a medical marijuana user
  • Testing positive for marijuana unless there are other indications of impairment

Once these regulations take effect, an employer must prove that you had symptoms of impairment while working. This requirement is in addition to testing positive for marijuana. However, employers will find it challenging to prove impairment. According to the Act, they must prove that you demonstrated “specific and articulable” symptoms of impairment. These signs must appear during your job duties or work hours.

Additionally, the symptoms must “substantially decrease or lessen the employee’s performance of the duties or tasks of the employee’s job position, or such specific articulable symptoms interfere with an employer’s obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace as required by District or federal occupational safety and health law.” 

However, employees must know that only medical marijuana users can use marijuana while working. As a result, employers may require a drug test due to workplace accidents or suspicions of impairment. They may also require drug tests and take adverse action when required by funding agreements, federal law, or contracts. The Act also encompasses safety-sensitive positions, such as working with heavy machinery.

According to the Act, jobs that could cause immediate severe bodily injury or loss of life while under the influence count as safety-sensitive positions. Working under the influence of marijuana is grounds for your employer to take adverse action. Your employer may take adverse action for the following: consuming, possessing, storing, delivering, transferring, displaying, transporting, selling, buying, or growing cannabis at your workplace, while working for your employer, or during work hours.

Despite these restrictions, the Cannabis Employment Protections Act significantly protects marijuana users. Job applicants who use marijuana should consider running a self-background check. This check would inform them about existing offenses, which they could expunge through the courts. It also gives an idea about whether these convictions can appear on employer-run background checks.

Discover more about our reliable and secure self-background checks by clicking here. Get started today.