A bill passed the state Senate Wednesday that would protect hundreds of thousands of medical marijuana patients in California from employment discrimination.
Assembly Bill 2279, introduced in February by Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, already passed the state assembly by a 41-35 vote in May and now goes to the governor's desk.
AB 2279, co-authored by Assemblywomen Patty Berg, D-Eureka, Lori Hancock, D-Berkeley, and Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, would reverse a California Supreme Court decision in January that stated that an employer could fire someone solely because they use medical marijuana outside the workplace.
"AB 2279 is not about being under the influence while at work. That's against the law, and will remain so," Leno said in a prepared statement. "It's about allowing patients who are able to work safely and who use their doctor-recommended medication in the privacy of their own home, to not be arbitrarily fired from their jobs."
The bill, which passed the state Senate by a 21-15 vote, leaves intact state laws that prohibit medical marijuana consumption at the workplace or during working hours, and protects employers from liability by making an exception for safety-sensitive positions.
In the case Ross v. RagingWire, the California Supreme Court made a 5-2 decision on Jan. 24 against the plaintiff, Gary Ross, a 46-year-old disabled veteran who was fired from his systems engineer job after testing positive for marijuana.
Proposition 215, a voter initiative that passed in 1996, allows patients with a valid doctor's recommendation to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use.
"The voters who supported Proposition 215 did not intend for medical marijuana patients to be forced into unemployment in order to benefit from their medicine," Leno said.
Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group that sponsored the bill, says that it has received hundreds of reports of employment discrimination since it began keeping track in 2005.
Medical Marijuana Employment Rights Bill Passes Senate - News Story - KNTV | San Francisco
HELL YEAH! One step away from being a law. Come on Governator!
Have a good one!