Marijuana Legislation in California & Washington

December 1, 2023 Faith McGrain

As a result of legislation going into effect on January 1, 2024, employers that drug screen in the states of California and Washington can no longer 1) test their candidates for THC metabolites in urine or hair specimens or 2) discriminate in initial hiring based on off-the-job cannabis use. 

About the Legislation: 

California – California Assembly Bill 2188 prohibits employers from discriminating against “a person in hiring, termination, or any term or condition of employment” based on “the person's use of cannabis off the job and away from the workplace.”   

Washington – Washington Senate Bill 5123 makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against a potential employee for off-the-job use detected via non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites, which drug screens can detect anytime within 30 days of use. The bill aims to allow applicants further access to job opportunities unrestricted by past use of cannabis.      

Action Required   

  • To avoid unlawful discrimination based on this legislation, an employer-required drug test should screen for active impairment by the THC compound, not the leftover metabolites.   

  • Both oral fluid and blood will screen for the parent compound, not the leftover metabolites.    

Options for Employers 

  • Remove THC from their current urine testing panel   

  • Switch to oral fluid (or blood) prior to January 2024  

Recommended Next Steps  

  • Seek guidance from your legal counsel regarding your testing needs.   

  • Review your current drug test policy and update it as needed prior to January 1, 2024.   

  • Discuss panel options with your screening provider.

Please note: The information provided above is strictly for educational purposes.  It is not intended to be legal advice, either expressed or implied. Accurate Background recommends that you consult with your legal counsel regarding all employment regulations.   

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