Job seekers in Nevada who fail marijuana screening tests in 2020 could still make it onto employers’ payrolls. That’s because the state passed Assembly Bill 132 in June 2019, making it unlawful for Nevada employers to refuse to hire job candidates solely because they test positive for marijuana.
Nevada is the first state to institute such a law, just two years after recreational marijuana sales began there. The law – which takes effect January 1, 2020 – will not apply to emergency medical technicians, firefighters and individuals who drive vehicles on employers’ behalf. Employers also have some leeway with positions that affect other people’s safety and can reject applicants for such jobs if they fail a marijuana drug test.
Nevada’s new state law will not stop business owners from testing job applicants for pot, nor will it prevent them from refusing to hire applicants who test positive for other drugs.
Future Impact of Nevada’s New Law
The pioneering measure, designed to prevent marijuana-based job discrimination, could be a harbinger of future legislation. As legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana gains traction, other states are likely to adopt such laws over time.
Marijuana use remains illegal at the federal level, but 33 states have legalized medical marijuana and 11 states have legalized recreational marijuana as of August 2019. Some state statutes and court decisions protect employees who use medical marijuana under state disability laws, while others do not afford any employment protections.
Missouri Medical Marijuana Update
Last November, Missouri legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. The state anticipates it will license businesses by the end of this year with dispensaries opening by Spring 2020. According to Missouri’s medical marijuana regulation director, 8,880 people have already applied for medical marijuana cards. And that number is expected to grow, with clinics opening just to help people secure a card. The industry is expected to top $100 million in sales by 2025.
To Screen Job Applicants or Not
The patchwork of state laws protecting medical marijuana users – and, in some states, recreational users – along with changing attitudes about marijuana use has created confusion about whether employers should even bother to screen job applicants for marijuana. Some have stopped that testing, deciding instead to focus on implementing safety measures and testing only when there is a reasonable suspicion of workplace impairment.
The decision whether to test job seekers for marijuana depends on multiple factors and differs from workplace to workplace. As employers navigate this changing landscape, Axcet can provide insights and information that ease the decision-making process.