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New Bill Would Essentially Put an End to Hair and Urine Tests For Weed

3:46 PM PDT on August 30, 2022

    via Thought Catalog/Unsplash

    AB 2188, a newly proposed assembly bill passed by state lawmakers today, seeks to protect Californians from being penalized by their employers for using cannabis when they're not on the job. The bill will next go to Governor Gavin Newsom.

    According to JD Supra, the bill would amend our state's Fair Employment and Housing Act, the statute that prohibits various forms of employment discrimination. AB 2188 would essentially make it illegal to use a person's off-the-clock enjoyment of the cannabis plants and its derivative products when hiring, firing, or dealing with that employee. Violations could result in charges with California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing and civil lawsuits.

    This would essentially disallow evidence from hair and urine testing used to determine cannabis use, as these tests merely find inactive THC metabolites, the so-called" waste products of THC," making it unclear whether a person had smoked or eaten cannabis recently. Indicators of cannabis use from oral swabs, which give a more recent picture of whether a person may be currently impaired, would still be allowed.

    NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) director Dale Gieringer tells High Times, "This whole piss-testing regime is really the result of government fraud in the first place... there was never any good evidence that piss testing, in particular looking for metabolites, had anything to do with public safety.”

    Gieringer goes on to call it "basically a scam by former Reagan drug officials who—after leaving the government—went into the urine-testing business, and were well-connected, in general, with the government."

    Though no one is yet to call oral swabs a scam, their approval as a testing technology is meant to permit employers to still run a drug-free workplace so that you're not going on the job to file papers after waking and baking, no matter how much it helps you deal with Sheila's audible addiction to The Wave F.M.

    Similarly, employees could still be banned from having weed on them at work, taking a break to toke a one-hitter, or going to that giant MOTA piece in your truck and taking some bong rips to the face during your lunch hour.

    The bill does not apply to people in construction or building, nor would it apply to anyone needing a federal background check or security clearance, nor would it preempt laws that deal with federal or state testing laws, as long as methods are used that don't test for the aforementioned metabolites.

    Essentially, AB 2188 would put an old, ineffectual testing method out to pasture and allow employers who are concerned to adapt to weed-testing tech that is more relevant to the thing they actually care about: not having stoned employees.

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