California’s AB 2069, a bill to require employers to accommodate medical cannabis users, recently failed to advance past committee.

We previously reported that the California legislature was considering AB 2069, the “Medical Cannabis Worker Protections Act,” a bill to amend the Fair Employment and Housing Act to require most employers to engage in the interactive process with and consider reasonable accommodations for cannabis users.

Yet, on May 25, 2018, the bill failed to advance past the Appropriations Committee. Instead, the bill was “held under submission,” which, according to the legislature’s website, means “there is an indication that the author and the committee members want to work on or discuss the bill further, but there is no motion for the bill to progress out of committee.” Whether the bill will be set for another hearing remains to be seen.

Marijuana remains a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. As a result, and consistent with the California Supreme Court’s decision in Ross v. RagingWire Telecomm., Inc., which upheld the right of an employer not to hire an applicant who tested positive for marijuana recommended by his physician, employers can continue to rely on federal law and enforce their workplace substance abuse policies. That said, given the growing popularity of medical and recreational marijuana laws, which are being enacted from coast-to-coast, and the willingness of courts to hold that employers may have a duty to reasonably accommodate medical marijuana use, we do not expect the saga in California to end here.

In the meantime, given the recent passage of California’s recreational marijuana law, employers may want to consider reviewing and updating their substance abuse policies, including their drug-testing policies, to ensure they are clear as to their expectations of employee marijuana use. Employers also should continue to monitor developments in this evolving area of the law.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) recently held advisory meetings on the Agency’s draft rules for the Marijuana/Cannabis Industry and for the Heat Illness Prevention in Indoor Places of Employment.  It is seeking public comments. Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Drafts Rules for the Marijuana/Cannabis Industry and Heat Illness Prevention in Indoor Places of Employment

The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office has announced that it will retroactively apply Proposition 64, which legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana in California, to marijuana related misdemeanor and felony convictions dating back to 1975 with immediate effect.  As a result, over 3,000 misdemeanor convictions will be dismissed and sealed, and nearly 5,000 felony convictions will be reviewed and potentially reduced. Continue Reading San Francisco DA’s Office to Dismiss Thousands of Marijuana Convictions

California employers can still enforce their drug-free workplace policies and discharge employees who test positive for marijuana, despite the recreational marijuana laws that go into effect in January 2018.

On November 8, 2016, California voters enacted the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Effective January 1, 2018, adults over the age of 21 can smoke marijuana recreationally. Health & Safety Code § 11362.1(a)(4). Marijuana, meanwhile, will remain legal for medical use by patients who have a physician’s recommendation, under California’s Compassionate Use Act of 1996. Health & Safety Code § 11362.5. So how will the new law affect employers? Continue Reading Not Up In Smoke: Employers Can Still Enforce Drug Policies

Seyfarth Synopsis: Marijuana businesses must properly label their products if they contain chemicals that can cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive health problems.  Failure to do so will result in a civil penalty or civil lawsuit.

Entrepreneurial Plaintiff’s attorneys have now set their sites on marijuana businesses.  Since January 1, 2017, Plaintiff’s firms have issued approximately 800 violation notice letters to marijuana businesses alleging that producers of cannabis infused edibles and vape cartridge manufacturers failed to warn consumers about specific fungicides and pesticides associated with their products.

California’s Proposition 65, or the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, requires cannabis business owners to provide customers with warning of the chemicals contained in their products which can cause cancer, birth defects, and other health problems.  Among the substances “known to the state of California” to cause cancer, birth defects and other health problems are marijuana smoke itself, and the chemicals myclobutanil (also a fungicide), carbaryl, and malathion, commonly-used pesticides. Continue Reading Beware: Marijuana Businesses Targeted With Product Labeling Violation Letters

On June 15, 2017, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted the advisory committee recommendation that there is no current need for industry-specific regulations related to the activities of facilities licensed under the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. But while the decision is good news for the industry, the findings leading to the recommendation reveal that the medical marijuana industry as a whole lacks a basic understanding of the rules that govern it and its obligations under them. Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Determines No Special Rules Needed for Medical Marijuana Industry

Recently, the San Francisco Chronicle published an interesting story examining two fronts on which labor unions are trying to cash in on the passage of Prop 64 in November 2016, which legalized the sale and personal use of recreational marijuana in California. With its passing, California is poised to become the largest, most lucrative market for marijuana products in the United States (assuming the successes of craft beer and fine wines are fair markers). Nearly six months later, the industry is in its infancy with much to be decided on cannabis’ regulation. Continue Reading Unions Find The Grass On The Other Side of Prop 64 Particularly Green

Seyfarth Synopsis: California lawmakers are struggling to implement the regulations necessary to govern the sale of recreational marijuana, which is causing much uncertainty among businesses and local governments.

California voters passed the Adult Use Marijuana Act (“AUMA”) in November, but State officials are still struggling to figure out exactly how they will regulate the sale of marijuana for recreational use. Continue Reading Lack Of California Regulations Sparks Continued Uncertainty For Sale Of Recreational Marijuana

Golden State voters trail-blazed the way for the legalized use and sale of marijuana on November 8, 2016. The California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, known as Proposition 64, was welcomed with open arms (and maybe a little cotton mouth) by the nation’s largest economy with a vote of 56% in favor of the law. Continue Reading California High on Proposition 64’s Recreational Marijuana Law

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at the world of legalized marijuana.

Nebraska and Oklahoma may not have had their day in (Supreme) Court, but they are undeterred in their fight against Colorado’s legalization of recreational marijuana.

A judge in Illinois’ Cook County ordered the state’s medical marijuana program to add post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions for MMJ within 30 days.

An initiative has officially obtained enough signatures to be placed on November’s ballot. It would allow adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants for recreational use.

Authorities say they have arrested a man on suspicion of driving while high on pot after he crashed into a Happy Valley marijuana dispensary.

That last item was more for fun than real news value, but it’s Friday, it’s a long weekend, and how could we resist?

Anything we missed?  Let us know in the comments.