Oklahoma Bans Employment Discrimination Against Marijuana Patients
While the media lauds Colorado and California for being so-o-o-o progressive on drug policy reform, Oklahoma — which only launched its medical marijuana program in June 2018 — will enact a new law this month that bans employers from unfairly drug-testing the state’s marijuana patients for THC.
The law, House Bill 2612, otherwise known as the “Unity Bill” or the “Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act,” goes into effect August 30. Under the law, employers may still screen prospective or current employees for marijuana, but they cannot deny employment or terminate workers who come up hot for weed, so long as those tested are legit medical marijuana patients.
However, there are exceptions to this new rule. Workers in “safety sensitive positions,” such as those who operate heavy machinery or who drive as part of their job duties, may still face reprimands if they come up positive for marijuana. Federal contractors or employees, who are beholden to federal rules on top of state laws, may also be denied employment if they consume weed, regardless of their patient status, Oklahoma’s News 4 reported.
And, of course, employers may still ban marijuana consumption on their premises or during work hours, regardless of patient status.
Since 2015, Oklahoma has permitted all residents to use, possess, and buy or sell hemp-derived CBD oil that contains less than 0.3 percent THC.
Once House Bill 2612 goes into effect, Oklahoma will join other enlightened jurisdictions such as Maine, Nevada, and New York City, where cannabis consumers are protected by law from unjust drug screens ordered by employers.
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