As of January 2020, it will be unlawful for employers in Nevada to give their employees drug tests for marijuana.
This new legislation was signed by Governor of Nevada Steve Sisolak on June 5, making Nevada the very first US state to pass such a law.
From next year onwards, new employees have the right to submit to an additional screening test to refute the results. The employer will then be legally required to accept this follow-up screening.
According to this bill, which is known as AB 132:
It is unlawful for any employer in this State to fail or refuse to hire a prospective employee because the prospective employee submitted to a screening test and the results of the screening test indicate the presence of marijuana.
There will be exceptions to this law for professions where safety precautions must take priority. This will include firefighters, emergency medical technicians and certain jobs where the employee is required to use a vehicle.
Many cannabis rights advocates regard this to be a significant step forward for the state, where marijuana can already be legally purchased from licensed stores and dispensaries.
Critics of employee weed tests have long criticised the hypocrisy of discriminating against people for using a substance which can be legally purchased by those aged 21 or older.
As reported by CNN, Governor Sisolak said:
As our legal cannabis industry continues to flourish, it’s important to ensure that the door of economic opportunity remains open for all Nevadans.
That’s why I was proud to sign AB132 into law, which contains common-sense exceptions for public safety and transportation professionals.
Nevada’s first-ever Cannabis Compliance Board will ensure our legal cannabis industry is positioned to become the gold standard for the nation. #AB533 was one of my top priorities this #nvleg session, and I was thrilled to sign it into law today! pic.twitter.com/MmljFuYtKa
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) June 12, 2019
Legal pot is big business in Nevada, with Las Vegas being home to the Acres Dispensary, a 20,000 square foot, 24/7 dispensary complete with an educational museum and an underground marijuana farmers’ market.
Nevada legalised weed in 2017, and has already reaped serious benefits. As reported by Leafly in 2018, the cannabis industry generated almost $1 billion in total output activity for the Nevada’s economy during the first year of legalised recreational sales.
UNILAD spoke with Peter Reynolds from CLEAR Cannabis Law Reform about this latest development in cannabis legislation.
Reynolds told UNILAD:
It’s good to see that there are some jurisdictions which act in accordance with evidence and common sense.
If our useless politicians can find time between snorting coke, smoking dope and bickering with each other, maybe one day they will do something about Britain’s ridiculous drugs policy.
NORML Deputy Director, Paul Armentano, told UNILAD:
These reforms protect the liberties of Nevadans and promote fair treatment in the workplace for those who choose to consume cannabis responsibly while off-the-job. There is no reason to permit employers to continue to arbitrarily discriminate against those who engage in this legal activity while away from the workplace.
It’s certainly good to see Nevada updating its law to keep pace with their booming weed business. It remains to be seen whether other states will follow suit.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.