Employers in California, and nationally, find themselves in the middle of evolving laws and cultural norms surrounding cannabis use. The legalization of recreational cannabis presents unique challenges to employers’ efforts to maintain a drug-free workplace. Now, more than ever, employers must be vigilant to keep up with changes in laws regulating cannabis. By ensuring their drug testing and drug-free workplace policies comply with the law, employers will be prepared to confront the challenges associated with increased recreational use of cannabis among their employees.
On Nov. 8, 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64 (the “Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act”), which legalized the recreational use of cannabis by adults 21 years of age and older. Proposition 64 was the second major change to cannabis laws approved by California voters, who passed Proposition 215 in 1996 (the “Compassionate Use Act of 1996”), legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis. Despite these new laws, cannabis remains a Schedule 1 illegal substance under the federal Controlled Substance Act of 1970.
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