Failed a Weed Test? In One State, Job Applicants Now Have Protections.

by | June 13, 2019 AT 7:57 AM
A woman smoking a marijuana joint.
(AP/Alex Brandon)

By Muri Assunção

It's high time this new law was passed if you ask pot users.

Starting in 2020, it will be illegal for employers in Nevada to refuse to hire applicants based on positive results for pot in pre-employment drug testing, thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, on June 5.

"As our legal cannabis industry continues to flourish, it's important to ensure that the door of economic opportunity remains open for all Nevadans. That's why I was proud to sign AB132 into law, which contains common-sense exceptions for public safety and transportation professionals," Sisolak said in a statement, according to Newsweek.

AB132, as the law is referred to, is set to go into effect in January, three years after recreational cannabis was legalized in the state.

"It is unlawful for any employer in this State 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," the law states.

"I didn't want people to be discriminated against about the lawful use of marijuana," Nevada Assemblywoman Dina Neal said. "That was my purpose."

AB132, which was first introduced to the state legislature in Feb. 13, does carry some exceptions. Applicants for firefighting or EMT jobs can't be hired if they test positive, and applicants for jobs that use federal funding are also not protected since marijuana is illegal at the federal level.

Nevada, the fifth state in the country to legalize the use of recreational pot for adult use, is the first to pass a law banning employers from not hiring a candidate based on testing positive for marijuana.

However, a similar law was enacted in New York City in May.

It prohibits "New York City employers from requiring a prospective employee to submit to testing for the presence of any tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana," and it was approved by the City Council in a 40 to 4 vote.

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