New California Legislation Curbs Discrimination and Inquiries into Applicant Cannabis Usage

Effective January 1, 2024, California employers will face expanded restrictions regarding the consideration of applicants' cannabis history.

On October 7, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill 700 which will prohibit employers from discriminating against a job applicant or employee based on information learned about their prior cannabis use from criminal history records. Exceptions to this law are provided for:

  • On-the-job impairment or possession;
  • Employees subject to state or federal laws requiring controlled substance testing, such as those in the construction industry; and
  • Employees requiring federal security clearance.

BIG previously reported on the passing of California Assembly Bill 2188, which was signed into law by Governor Newsom in 2022. AB 2188 will make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an applicant or employee who engages in the lawful use of marijuana outside of work. It also goes into effect on January 1, 2024.

Employers should work with their legal counsel to evaluate their pre-employment drug screening and criminal research procedures to ensure they are ready for these new 2024 laws.

Posted: October 16, 2023