Sanctuary Wellness Institute
Close this search box.

California’s Marijuana Anti-Discrimination Law

California’s Marijuana Anti-Discrimination Law
Table of Contents

In the Golden State, progressive legislation continues to shape the landscape of employee rights and corporate practices. The latest chapter in this ongoing story is the introduction of California’s new marijuana anti-discrimination law, known as Senate Bill 700 (SB 700). This groundbreaking law aims to protect workers’ rights by prohibiting employment discrimination based on an individual’s use of marijuana off the job and outside the workplace.

Let’s delve into the implications of SB 700 to better understand how it will alter the working environment for Californians and potentially set a precedent for employment law nationwide.

What Is SB 700 California?

SB 700 is a groundbreaking piece of legislation passed in California that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees in hiring, termination, or any other condition of employment based on marijuana use outside of the workplace or the discovery of non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in employer-imposed drug tests. Governor Gavin Newsom passed it into law on October 7, 2023, and it went into effect on January 1, 2024.

The law, which is an expansion of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, is a response to the evolving landscape of legal marijuana use and a statement that personal, legal activities should not be the basis for employment decisions.

What Does SB 700 Mean for Californians?

The passage of SB 700 has ushered in significant changes for Californians in the workplace. This law provides critical protections for employees who use or have used marijuana legally outside of work. Namely, it will help legal marijuana users and ex-users obtain employment and avoid disciplinary action from their employer due to cannabis use outside of work.

SB 700 prohibits California employers from requesting information from a job applicant about prior cannabis use. In addition, it bars them from using information obtained from a criminal history about an applicant or employee’s prior cannabis use unless otherwise permitted by state or federal law.

SB 700 Protections

What Workers Are Excluded from SB 700 Protections?

Certain categories of California workers are excluded from SB 700’s protections. The following types of employees are excluded from this new law, due to federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance:

  • Federal employees
  • Those in positions requiring federal background checks
  • Those in positions that require regular drug testing as a condition of employment for federal funding, licensing, and/or contracting

Additionally, workers in safety-sensitive positions such as those operating heavy machinery or in charge of public safety are not protected by SB 700 due to the impairment risks associated with cannabis use. Additionally, nonprofit religious organizations are not required to uphold the protections offered in SB 700.

Can I Use Medical Marijuana at Work in California?

In California, despite the passage of SB 700, employers retain the right to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace and can enforce policies that prohibit the use of marijuana during work hours due to safety and productivity concerns.

It’s important for employees to understand their workplaces’ policies and their rights under this new legislation and stay informed about legislative updates.

What if I Fail a Drug Test for Work in California?

If you fail a drug test for work in California, the consequences can vary depending on the specific circumstances and your employer’s policies, even with the passage of SB 700. You cannot be penalized or discriminated against for a drug test that indicates the presence of non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites, but employers can still use scientifically valid drug screening methods that do not screen for such metabolites and penalize you if you fail one.

SB 700 does not allow employees to possess, be impaired by, or use cannabis on the job.

The Sanctuary: Advocates for Medical Marijuana Patients

When you work with the Sanctuary, obtaining your California medical marijuana card is a simple, straightforward process. Our team of physicians and cannabis experts provide comprehensive guidance every step of the way, ensuring a seamless journey from consultation to approval.

With the Sanctuary’s help, you’ll not only gain legal access to medicinal cannabis, but also a wealth of resources and support to help you make informed decisions on your health and wellness journey.

How we reviewed this article: