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Washington: Support Legislation to End Workplace Discrimination Against Medical Marijuana Consumers

Update: HB 1094 did not pass before the legislative crossover and likely will not be passed this year. 

Update: A public hearing for HB 1094 was held in the House on January 26.

Legislation is pending before the House, HB 1094, to prohibit employers from discriminating against patients who legally consume marijuana during non-work hours.

The bill amends existing law so that: “An employer  may not refuse to hire a qualifying patient, discharge or bar a qualifying patient from employment, or discriminate against a qualifying patient in compensation or in other terms and conditions of employment because of the qualifying patient's: (i) Status as a qualifying patient; or (ii) Positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites.”

Passage of this act would not prohibit employers from sanctioning employees who are under the influence at work.

Changes in the legal status of marijuana has not been associated with any adverse changes in workplace safety. In fact, a pair of studies from 2016 find that legalization is associated with greater workforce participation and with fewer workplace absences. Most recently, the National Academies of Sciences just-released marijuana and health report found “insufficient evidence” to support an association between cannabis use and occupational accidents or injuries.

It is time to end this discriminatory policy.

Those who consume other medications legally and responsibly while off the job do not suffer sanctions from their employers unless their work performance is adversely affected. Employers should treat those patients who consume cannabis legally while away from the workplace in a similar manner.

Please use the pre-written letter below to urge your elected officials to end workplace discrimination against marijuana patients.