California legalized recreational cannabis at the beginning of the new year and now many are curious what exactly that changes about local laws and policies including employers, public possession and use. For the most part employers are holding onto policies that say do not come into work impaired. You have a right to purchase cannabis as an adult, but just like with alcohol, you shouldn't be working while impaired. Employers retain the right to terminate employees over drug tests showing cannabis, though it's worth knowing that medical cannabis card holders have a right to privacy of their condition and some employers could be willing to work with medical patients. On the otherhand there are industries that will hold onto zero-tolerance policies due to safety issues like working with heavy machinery.
Outside of the workplace, adults possessing cannabis should be aware that transporting it should be done inside the trunk of your car in a container. No consumption is permitted inside a vehicle. The same should be said for inside buildings, venues, or arenas that smoking tabacco would also be prohibited.
“I think there are a lot of employees that think that now it’s a get out of jail free card or ‘Now I have a right and therefore you cannot hinder that in any way’ and that’s just not true,” she said. “You have a right to buy alcohol, but we all understand we don’t come to work drunk.”
“You can still be drug tested, and you could still be fired by your employer,” she said.
“Those zero tolerance policies are about safety in the workplace,” she said. “That’s a real issue, so we want to remember that simply because California law says it’s legal for recreational purposes doesn’t mean that safety goes out the window.”
“For some, they may be using cannabis for medicinal purposes and if so, then we need to be mindful of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California component of that,” Flores said. “My first thought in that regard is to say, ‘Are you taking this for a medical reason and is there a legal alternative under the federal regime?’”