State senate passes bill that would ban pre-employment cannabis tests

A bill that would eliminate cannabis tests as a condition of employment was passed by the Washington State Senate on Wednesday.
SB 5123, sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), would only apply to pre-employment cannabis testing. Employers would still be able to maintain their drug-free workplace policies.
“It comes down to discriminating against people who use cannabis,” said Keiser, chair of the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee. “For people using a legal substance, having a pre-employment test like this is just plain unfair, and we should stop it.”

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A news release from Keiser’s office says that current cannabis tests detect metabolites that stay in the body for weeks after cannabis use. “This makes cannabis different from how alcohol and other drugs show up in tests and can lead to discrimination against people using a perfectly legal — and sometimes medically necessary — substance in a responsible way,” the release said.
The bill would not apply to applicants in the airline and aerospace industries or applicants for positions requiring federal government background investigations or security clearances.
The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

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