• Tina Maiolo

Think Twice Before Firing, or Refusing to Hire, for a Positive THC test in DC!

Updated: Jul 21

Washington, D.C.’s City Council passed a bill Tuesday which, if Mayor Muriel Bowser approves it, will prohibit employers from firing employees who fail marijuana drug tests. The Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act of 2022 would also ban employers from firing or refusing to hire an employee because of their recreational or medical marijuana use.


While the protections under the Cannabis Employment Protections Amendment Act of 2022 are broad, they are not without exceptions. Employers will not violate the legislation if they act under federal guidelines, or if an employee consumed marijuana at work or while performing work-related duties. Employees are also not allowed to possess, store, deliver, transfer, display, transport, sell, purchase or grow cannabis at work.


For those employees who use marijuana for medicinal purposes, employees are required to evaluate "medical marijuana to treat a disability in the same manner as it would treat the legal use of a controlled substance prescribed by or taken under the supervision of a licensed health care professional." Employees in "safety-sensitive" occupations, such as police, security guards, construction workers, those who operate heavy machinery, health care workers, caretakers, or gas and power company employees are not afforded the Act’s protections. Also excluded from the legislation are federal government employees, as well as employees of D.C. courts.


If the bill passes, employers have 60 days to notify their employees of their new rights and if they are designated as safety-sensitive employees. Thereafter, employers must provide that same notice annually and for each new hire.